by W.E.B. Griffin
& William E. Butterworth IV


[ ONE ]
Schlosshotel Kronberg
Hainstrasse 25, Kronberg im Taunus
Hesse, American Zone of Occupation, Germany
1955 17 February 1946

Captain James D. Cronley, Jr. sat in the back of an olive drab 1942 Chevrolet staff car in his Pinks and Greens, which was how officers referred to the Class A semi-dress uniform. He was puffing on a long black cigar, despite a sign on the back of the front seat which read both NO SMOKING! and RAUCHEN VERBOTEN!

Jim Cronley — a six-foot-tall, blond-haired, blue-eyed twenty-two-year-old Texan — had crossed sabers on his lapels that identified him as a Cavalryman. His shoulder insignia — a three-inch yellow circle outlined in black, with a “C” in the center pierced by a red lightning bolt — identified him as a member of the U.S. Constabulary, which policed the American Zone of Occupied Germany.

Three and a half hours before, the telephone on his desk in the compound that housed the Süd-Deutsche Industrielle Entwicklungsorganisation — the South German Industrial Organization in Pullach, a small village about twenty miles from Munich — had flashed a red button, which had caused him to say “shit!” as he reached for it.

His office was in a small neat building, identified by a sign on its small snow-covered lawn as the OFFICE OF THE OMGUS LIAISON OFFICER. OMGUS was the acronym for Office of Military Government, United States.

It was, de facto, the headquarters of DCI-Europe. The Directorate of Central Intelligence had been formed to replace the Office of Strategic Services several months before by President Harry S Truman. It answered only to him.

The OMGUS sign was an obfuscation, a smoke-screen, so to speak, to conceal the truth. So was the Constabulary shoulder insignia on Cronley’s tunic. He was not assigned to the Constabulary. He was listed on the War Department’s Detached Officer Roster, which is classified Secret, as being assigned to the Directorate of Central Intelligence.

He was in fact chief, DCI-Europe.

So was the South German Industrial Development Organization an obfuscation to conceal what had once been Abwehr Ost — Intelligence East — of the Wehrmacht. Generalmajor Reinhard Gehlen had made a deal with Allen Dulles, then the OSS Station Chief in Switzerland, to not only surrender to the Americans but to bring with him all of Gehlen’s assets, which included agents inside the Kremlin, and to place him and them at the service of the Americans.

In exchange, Dulles agreed to protect Gehlen’s officers and enlisted men, and their families, from the Russians.

“Cronley,” Cronley had said into the handset of the secure telephone.

“ASA Fulda, sir. Hold for Major Wallace.”

The Army Security Agency was charged with making sure the Army’s communications network was not compromised, and, in addition to other services, to provide secure encrypted telephone, teletype, and radio communications.

“Major Wallace, we have Captain Cronley on a secure line.”

Wallace said: “You’re invited to Colonel Bob Mattingly’s ‘Farewell to USFET party.’”

Cronley said: “I must regretfully decline the kind invitation—”

“It will be held at Schlosshotel Kronberg.”

“—As I have a previous social engagement.”

“So put on your Pinks and Greens and get in your airplane within the next thirty minutes. A car will be waiting for you at Eschborn.”


“And wear your DSM.”

“I was told I wasn’t supposed to wear it.”

“This is a special occasion.”

“I ain’t gonna wear the damned thing, which is sort of moot, since I ain’t going to fly up there to play nice with Mattingly.”

“When you get an order, Captain Cronley, the correct response is, ‘Yes, sir.’”

After a ten-second pause, Cronley said, “Yes, sir.”

More obfuscation was in play here.

In order to make DCI-Europe seem less important than it was, to have it sort of fade into the background, it was decided that it be commanded, so far as anyone outside of DCI was concerned, by a junior officer.

Such an officer was available in the person of Jim Cronley, who had just been awarded the Distinguished Service Medal and promoted from second lieutenant to captain at the verbal order of the President of the United States. The citation stated that he had demonstrated “at the risk of his own life not only valor above and beyond the call of duty but a wisdom far beyond that to be expected of an officer of his age and rank while engaged in a classified operation of great importance.”

DCI-Europe was important, and not only because it was involved in surreptitiously keeping former members of Abwehr Ost and their families, many of them Nazis, out of the hands of the Russians by surreptitiously flying them to Argentina. This activity, should it become public knowledge, would have seen Truman — who had authorized Allen Dulles to make the deal with Gehlen — very possibly impeached, even if Eisenhower, who had brought the deal to Truman, agreed to fall on his sword to save the Commander-in-Chief.

Under these conditions, it was obviously necessary to have some experienced intelligence officer looking over Cronley’s shoulder to “advise” him and, should it become necessary, to take over DCI-Europe.

Such an officer was available in the person of Major Harold Wallace, who had been commander of OSS-Forward until its dissolution, and was now assigned to USFET Counterintelligence.

And there was more obfuscation here, too. In order to keep “Army G-2 off my back” — as Wallace, a full colonel, had phrased it — he had taken the eagle off his epaulets and replaced it with the golden leaf of a major and allowed the Army to think Colonel Robert Mattingly was actually commanding OSS-Forward.

Major Wallace was given command of the XXVIIth CIC Detachment in Munich, from which position he was able to look over the activities of the XXIIIrd CIC Detachment, commanded by Captain James D. Cronley. The XXIIIrd had been established to provide Cronley with a credible reason for being in Munich, in the hope that people would not connect him with DCI-Europe at The Compound.

Originally, Cronley was not told of Wallace’s role, but he soon figured it out. They worked out an amicable relationship, largely because Cronley accepted that Wallace could give him orders.



[ TWO ]

As Cronley entered the lobby of the Schlosshotel, a bellman snatched his canvas Valve-Pak from his hand and led him to the desk.

“I’m going to need a room,” Cronley said to the clerk.

“I’m very sorry, Captain, but the Schlosshotel Kronberg is a senior officer’s hotel.”

“I thought this was a low-class dump the moment I walked in,” Cronley blurted, his automatic mouth having gone into action.

Another clerk rushed over.

“Sind sie Hauptmann Cronley, Herr Hauptman?”


The clerk switched to English.

“We’ve put you in One-Ten, Captain. Your bag will be there whenever it’s convenient for you to go there.”

He handed Cronley a key ring, which also carried a brass plate with the room number on it.

“Captain Cronley,” a voice said in his ear, “if you’ll come with me, sir?”

He turned to see a naval officer, a full lieutenant who had the silver aiguillettes of an aide-de-camp dangling from his shoulder.

“Who the hell are you?”

“I’m the admiral’s aide, sir,” he replied, his tone suggesting dumb question. 

“What admiral?”

The lieutenant didn’t reply, instead gesturing for Cronley to follow him. Cronley did so, out of the lobby and down a corridor, where the lieutenant opened half of a double door, gestured for Conley to precede him, and then bellowed, “Admiral, Captain Cronley.”

Cronley looked into the room. There were six people sitting around a table on which were three bottles of whiskey, an ice bucket, and a soda siphon. He recognized two of them — Harold Wallace and Oscar Shultz. He saw that Wallace had the silver eagles of his actual rank on the epaulets. Oscar was in a business suit.

Cronley thought: And that has to be Admiral Souers. All that gold on his sleeves.

What the hell is going on here?

“Well, come on in,” Schultz called. “Don’t just stand there.”

Cronley walked up to the table.

“Sir,” he said to the admiral. “I don’t know the protocol. Am I supposed to salute?”

“Try saying, ‘Good evening, gentlemen,’” the admiral said, as he stood up.

“Good evening, gentlemen.”

The admiral put out his hand.

“I’m Sid Souers, son, and I’m glad to finally meet you. You know Colonel Wallace, of course, and Mr. Schultz, and you’ve just met my aide, Tommy Peterson. These fellows are, left to right, Bill Conroy, Jack Kingsbury, and Tony Henderson. All are DCI.”

Cronley went to each and shook their hands.

“Where’s your DSM, Jim?” Wallace asked.

“In my pocket. In the box it came in.”

Wallace put his hand out, palm up.

Cronley took an oblong blue leather box from his tunic pocket and laid it in Wallace’s hand. Wallace opened it, and withdrew the Distinguished Service Medal.

“I see you also brought your ‘I Was There’ ribbons,” Wallace said. “Good.”

He referred to the small colored ribbons that Cronley and millions of others had been awarded, the World War II Victory Medal testifying that they had been in the service when the war had been won; the European Theatre of Operations Medal, awarded to everyone serving in Europe; and the Army of Occupation Medal – Germany, awarded to everyone serving in Occupied Germany.

Cronley’s mouth went on automatic.

“Modesty prevents me from wearing them,” he said.

That earned him a dirty look from Wallace, but he saw Admiral Souers and the others smiling.

“Tell me about the Legion of Merit, Cronley,” the admiral said.

Cronley knew that the Legion of Merit ranked immediately below the Distinguished Service Medal but his mouth went on automatic: “Isn’t that what they award majors and up for ninety-days service in the Army of Occupation for not coming down with either the clap or syphilis?”

“Watch your goddamn mouth!” Wallace snapped.

“I don’t think I’ll tell President Truman you said that,” Admiral Souers said.

“Sir, I’m sorry,” Cronley said. “My automatic mouth ran away with me.”

“As it often does. Jesus, Jimmy!” Wallace said.

“What I think I’ll tell the President is that you said, with becoming modesty, that you didn’t deserve the Legion,” Souers said.


Souers gestured for the others at the table to stand up.

“Where do you want us, Jack?” the admiral said.

“They were supposed to be flags, Admiral.”

“Bill, go find the goddamn flags!” the admiral snapped.

Bill Conroy hurried to do the admiral’s bidding and returned a minute later with two bellmen carrying two shrouded flags on poles and bases for them.

The flags were unshrouded and set in their bases against the wall. One flag was the National Colors, and the other the blue flag with two silver stars of a rear admiral.

“Now, where do you want us, Jack?” the admiral said again.

“You by the colors, sir, with Tommy standing beside you. Colonel Wallace on the other side, and Cronley in the middle.”

Cronley now saw that Jack had a Leica camera.

What the hell is going on?

The admiral motioned for everyone to follow Jack’s instructions.

Colonel Wallace pinned the “I Was There” ribbons to Cronley’s chest, and then hung the Distinguished Service Medal above them.

“Okay,” the admiral ordered, “go ahead, Tommy.”

“Attention to orders!” the admiral’s aide barked. “The White House, Washington, D.C., 15 February 1946. By direction of the President, the Legion of Merit is awarded to Captain James D. Cronley, Jr., Cavalry, Army of the United States, Citation: Captain Cronley was called upon to assume command of Directorate of Central Intelligence-Europe when circumstances did not permit the assignment of an appropriately senior officer to that position. During his tenure as Chief DCI-Europe, Captain Cronley demonstrated characteristics of leadership and professionalism far above those to be expected of someone of his rank and length of service. He also proved his willingness to risk his life above and beyond the call of duty on many occasions when carrying out his duties. His outstanding performance and his valor reflected great credit upon the Directorate of Central Intelligence and the Office of the President of the United States. By Order of Harry S Truman, President of the United States and Commander-in-Chief of its Armed Forces.”

What that sounds like is that I am no longer Chief, DCI-Europe.

“Cronley, wipe that confused look off your face,” Admiral Souers said, “and try to look serious while I pin this thing on. The pictures are for President Truman.”

Cronley did his best to comply with the order.

“You got enough, Jack?” the admiral asked of the man with the Leica.

“Yes, sir.”

“Okay. Now I suggest someone pour Cronley a drink before he starts asking questions.”

He walked back to the table, sat down, and motioned for Cronley to take the seat beside him.

“Scotch or bourbon, Captain?” the admiral’s aide asked.

“Scotch, please.”

The drinks were served.

The admiral raised his glass.

“To Captain James D. Cronley, DSM, LM,” he said.

Everyone raised their glasses. There was a chorus of, “Hear, Hear!”

“The chair will now entertain any questions the captain may have,” the admiral said.

“Why wasn’t I just relieved? And you know I don’t deserve the Legion of Merit.”

“You mean, son, that you did come down with the clap?”

There was laughter.

“Okay, son, serious answers. You ever hear what Eisenhower replied when someone asked him the secret of his success as Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Forces?”

“No, sir.”

“Ike said, ‘I think it’s my knack of getting people who, with reason, hate each other to work together.’

“Ike came to see me. Somehow, he had learned of us going to G-2 at the War Department with the movies you had made with those two Peenemunde Nazis. The Blackmail Movie, as Jack put it. ‘Lay off DCI or we’ll show these movies to the President.’ 

“Ike said, ‘Sid, you — we — won this one, but the war between your man Cronley and General Seidel has to be called off. General Seidel is not going to quit until he buries Cronley. His ego is involved. And in trying to bury your young captain, he’s likely to do something that will cause Operation Ost to blow up in our face, which means the President’s face, and our primary obligation is to protect him.’

“I asked Ike what he had in mind, and, surprising me not at all, it made a hell of a lot of sense. So I took it to the President and he, a little reluctantly, agreed to it. Harry said it looked like you were getting the shitty end of the stick, and he didn’t like that. Hence, the Legion of Merit, and his own contribution to Operation Peace.

“What Ike is going to do is transfer General Seidel to the Pentagon, where Ike will tell him to lay off DCI. He will also tell him that you’ve been relieved as chief, DCI-Europe, and that an officer of suitable rank and experience has been appointed to that position, Harry Wallace. When a new man is sent to be USFET G-2 that’s who he’ll deal with.

“There were a number of reasons Harry got the job. DCI-Europe is about to be greatly expanded. The President is really worried about the Russians. So I started recruiting people who had been in the OSS. Bill, Jack, and Tony, for example, all ex-OSS. Bill and Tony had the bad luck to work for Harry in London. But they’re willing to give him a second chance.”

“But they would be unhappy working for me?”

The admiral did not reply directly, instead saying, “What you’re going to be doing, Jim, is making yourself useful to Justice Jackson.”


“You don’t know? I’m really surprised. He’s our chief prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials.”

“So I’m really out of DCI?”

“Oh, no. What you are now is commanding officer of Detachment A of DCI-Europe, which is charged with protecting Justice Jackson, under the cover of the XXXIVth CIC Detachment, which of course will be commanded by CIC Supervisory Special Agent Cronley.”

“What’s that all about?”

“The decision to provide Bob Jackson with additional security had already been made, and General Greene had set up the XXXIVth to do that before Ike came to see me. The kidnapping of Bob Mattingly showed — in case anybody didn’t already know — that the Soviets are now playing hard ball. After Ike, I called Greene, explained the situation, and suggested you were just the guy to protect Justice Jackson. He agreed.”

“And what is Mr. Justice Jackson going to think when all he gets to protect him is a young CIC agent?”

“That potential problem came up and the President dealt with it. He and Jackson are old friends. He shared — the three of us shared — many a dram or two when Bob was U.S. attorney general. So Harry called him, and told him he was concerned with his safety and the way he was dealing with that was to send the DCI man who’d gotten Mattingly back from the Russians to protect him.”

“I don’t suppose the President said, ‘The twenty-two-year-old DCI man’?”

“No, he didn’t. I was there. You’re going to have to deal with that problem yourself. It never seemed to bother you before.”

“It doesn’t bother me, but it seems to bother the hell out of senior officers.”

“I’ve noticed,” Admiral Souers said, dryly. “Well, finish your drink, and then we’ll go and make nice with those senior officers who are now gathered in the Main Ball Room to say ‘Auf Wiedersehen’ to Colonel Mattingly.”

“No way I can get out of that, Admiral?”

“By now you should have learned that serving with the DCI often requires that one must endure distasteful, even painful situations while smiling broadly.”

“And if you behave, Jimmy,” Oscar Shultz said, “you get a prize.”

“I’m afraid to ask what.”

“Mattingly’s Horch. He asked me what to do about it. I think he wanted me to help him get it to the States. I told him it belongs to the government. So it’s in the Provost Marshal’s impound lot where they put it after he was grabbed. If you behave in the ballroom, you can have it. Otherwise, I’ll ship it to Clete in Argentina. He can use it for spare parts.”

“I will behave.”

“I expect nothing less of you, Captain Cronley,” Admiral Souers said.



The Main Ball Room
Schlosshotel Kronberg
Hainstrasse 25, Kronberg im Taunus
Hesse, American Zone of Occupation, Germany
2020 17 February 1946

There was a small stage, on which a string orchestra was playing Viennese music. The ballroom itself was filled with officers and their ladies. Some were lined up at a bar, others at an hors d’oeuvres laden table, and still others sitting at tables set for eight.

There also was a reception line, with Colonel Robert Mattingly — a tall, handsome, splendidly turned-out thirty-six-year-old — standing at its end next to Major General Bruce T. Seidel, U.S. Forces, European Theatre EUCOM G-2, and Brigadier General Homer Greene, chief of CIC-USFET.

For the first time, Cronley wondered how the Army was going to deal with the facts concerning Colonel Robert Mattingly’s Auf Wiedersehen party, and immediately upon starting to think about that, wondered why they were having a party at all.

The facts were that Colonel Mattingly, deputy chief of CIC-USFET, had been kidnapped by the Russian NKGB not far from the Schlosshotel Kronberg.

At the time, officials didn’t know that he had been kidnapped, just that he had disappeared. Cronley suspected from the start that the NKGB was involved. The NKGB had tried to kidnap two WACS assigned to DCI-Europe in Munich. The attempt had failed when one of the women had taken a .38-caliber snub-nosed pistol from her brassiere and killed three of the attackers and wounded a forth, later reported as dead.

The incident had been reported in Stars & Stripes — and for that matter around the world — by Miss Janice Johansen of the Associated Press. But that story, after Miss Johansen had struck a deal with Cronley, had described the “would-be rapists” as escapees from a Displaced Persons Camp, rather than suspected NKGB agents. Cronley had admitted to her that he suspected the attackers were NKGB officers not at all interested in rape. He also knew no Displaced Persons taken from DP camps resembled at all the three bodies he had cooling in the morgue of the 98th General Hospital.

Janice’s story had been about the bravery of the WAC sergeant who had taken down the would-be rapists with a pistol drawn from her brassiere.

The deal Janice had struck with Cronley was that he would tell her — but no other member of the press — everything that was going on vis-à-vis Mattingly. As important, he would also tell her what would hurt his efforts to get him back if that appeared in print.

They both lived up to the bargain struck. Janice was on the Glienicke Bridge in Berlin with her camera when Cronley exchanged for Mattingly the fourth “rapist” — a former senior SS intelligence officer whom the Russians had turned.

He had told her all the details about that: The NKGB had contacted General Gehlen and in effect said, “You have something we want, and we have something you want, so why don’t we talk about it as civilized gentlemen?”

The Russians wanted Gehlen to meet with Major of State Security Ivan Serov in the Drie Hussaren restaurant in The Four Power Zone of Vienna. Suspecting the Russians would try to either assassinate Gehlen or kidnap him, Cronley had refused to let him go. He went himself, taking with him Gehlen’s deputy, former Oberst Ludwig Mannberg.

In the restaurant, over a meal that could only be described as sumptuous, Serov showed them a picture of Colonel Mattingly wearing a bloody bandage and chained to a chair. He said that Mattingly would be on the Glienicke Bridge — which connected the Russian Zone of Occupied Berlin with the American Zone — two weeks later at nine in the morning. If the Americans showed up there with NKGB Colonel Sergei Likharev, his wife Natalia, and their young sons, Sergei and Pavel, an exchange could be made. Gehlen’s agent in Russia had gotten Likharev’s family out of Leningrad and to Thuringia in East Germany, where Cronley and Kurt Schröder picked them up in two Storch aircraft. They then were quietly transported to Argentina.

Serov explained that it was important, pour le encouragement de les autres, that Likharev — who had been captured attempting to make contact with a mole in the Gehlen organization, and then turned by Cronley — be brought back to Russia.

Cronley had left the Drie Hussaren restaurant rather desperate. He had no intention of swapping the Likharevs for Mattingly. He knew what Serov had in mind — they would be made examples to other NKGB officers of what happened to NKGB officers and their families who tried to switch sides.

And Colonel Likharev, according to Oscar Schultz, who had flown to Argentina to meet him, had lived up to his side of the bargain. He was “singing like a canary” and the information he provided was “right on the money.”

And then, virtually at the last minute, Cronley had gotten lucky. He had moved the fourth rapist/kidnapper — dubbed “Lazarus” because he, so to speak, had returned from the dead in the 98th General Hospital — to Kloster Grünau, a DCI installation in a former monastery, where Cronley learned that he was Major of State Security Venedikt Ulyanov.

Cronley told General Gehlen that he didn’t think Serov would swap Lazarus for Mattingly, as he was of far less importance than Likharev and his family. But Lazarus was all that he had, and he was going to try. Gehlen agreed, and then said, almost in idle curiosity, “Let’s have a look at him; maybe something will pop up.”

Cronley had taken Gehlen and Mannberg to Lazarus’s cell below what had been the Kloster Grünau chapel.

Ludwig Mannberg took one look at Lazarus, and breathed, “Ach, du lieber Gott!” 

Lazarus replied, “The Herr General will understand why I am not overjoyed to see him again.”

“James,” Gehlen had said, “permit me to introduce former SS-Brigadeführer Baron Franz von Dietelburg.”

Gehlen had later explained that von Dietelburg had been his deputy in Abwehr Ost until Gehlen had decided that the SS-Brigadeführer’s loyalty was not to the Wehrmacht, but rather to Heinrich Himmler and the SS. He had then assigned von Dietelburg to General von Paulus’s Sixth Army then attacking Stalingrad.

Realizing that Stalingrad was going to be a disaster, and that Germany was going to lose the war, von Dietelburg had changed sides before von Paulus had to surrender. He had been taken into the NKGB with the equivalent rank to SS-brigadeführer and subsequently promoted.

It was clear to both Gehlen and Cronley that he was the man behind the kidnapping operations, and equally clear he was not about to tell them anything that could be believed about its purpose. And it was also equally clear that the NKGB probably would want him back, both because of his rank and to learn what he had told Gehlen and the DCI while they had him.

He was taken to the Glienicke Bridge at the hour Serov had specified for the Mattingly/Likharev exchange.

As Janice Johansen snapped pictures of everything, Lazarus got out of a Ford staff car. Cronley led him to the white line in the center of the bridge, where Ivan Serov waited for them, standing before the open door of a truck in which Colonel Mattingly sat chained to a chair.

“Turn Colonel Mattingly loose, Ivan,” von Dietelburg ordered. “The operation didn’t go quite as we planned it.”

After a moment’s hesitation, Serov obeyed.

“You realize, Janice, that you can’t use this,” Cronley had said. “We have to find out what this kidnapping operation is all about . . .”

“I know. But you are going to have to be very nice to me, Sweety, while I’m weeping for all the money I’m not going to get from Hollywood for this natural for a movie yarn.”



Associated Press Foreign Correspondent

Berlin, Febrary 13 — What at first appeared to be an international incident in the making turned out to be nothing more than two officers, one Russian and the other American, drinking too much in the wrong places.

The issue was resolved at nine o’clock this morning here in Berlin, when Russian officers marched Colonel Robert Mattingly, of USFET headquarters, to the center of the Glienicke Bridge while simultaneously American officers marched Major of State Security Venedikt Ulyanov, of the Allied Commandatura, to the same place.

A white line in the center of the bridge on the River Havel marks the border between Russian and American zones of Berlin. Once the two officers reached that line, Russian officers released Colonel Mattingly into the custody of an American captain, probably a military policeman, who in turn released Major Ulyanov into the custody of a Russian major, also probably a military policeman.

This reporter has learned exclusively that despite early reports that Colonel Mattingly was missing and that kidnapping was suspected, and that Major Ulyanov had been kidnapped in retaliation, the truth seems to be that prior to their exchange on the Glienicke Bridge, Colonel Mattingly was sitting in a jail cell in Thuringia, East Germany, after his arrest for driving under the influence, and that Major Ulyanov was sitting in a West Berlin jail after his arrest for public intoxication on the Kurfurstendamm.

Headquarters, Berlin Command and the Allied Commandantura refused to confirm or deny what this reporter had learned, but an U.S. Army spokesman said, “The incident is under investigation.”

Janice Johansen walked up to where Cronley and the others were standing just inside the door.

“Hi, Harry,” she said. “Is the sailor who I think he is?”

“Admiral,” Colonel Wallace said, “may I introduce Miss Janice Johansen of the Associated Press?”

“I’m very pleased to meet you, Miss Johansen,” Souers said. “I want you to know how much I appreciate your cooperation.”

“When Jimmy asks me to do something in our noble war against the Soviets, as a patriotic American girl, I’m putty in his arms.”

“How fortunate for all of us,” the admiral said.

“Speaking of Jimmy: What’s with the medals, Sweety?”

“Don’t ask,” Cronley said.

“What is it you don’t want me to know?”

“On his relief as chief, DCI-Europe,” Souers said, “President Truman decided the Award of the Legion of Merit was appropriate recognition for his superb performance of that duty.”

“That raises several questions in my mind,” she said.

“Shoot,” Souers said.

“Why is he getting relieved? That looks to me like you’re handing him the shitty end of the stick. If it wasn’t for Jimmy, Mattingly would still be chained to a chair in Potsdam, or on his way to Siberia.”

“That’s one of the reasons President Truman gave him the Legion of Merit,” Souers said.

“I don’t know how it is in the Navy, Admiral, but around here, majors and up get the Legion of Merit for dodging the clap, or other social diseases, for six months.”

“So I’ve heard,” the admiral replied. “I guess Jim qualifies that way, too.”

“Actually, I was asking about the other medal dangling from Jimmy’s manly chest. I recognize the Distinguished Service Medal when I see it. You going to tell me where you got that, Sweety?”

“Sweety can’t tell you that, Janice. It’s classified.”

“You think I work for the NKGB, right?”

“It never entered my mind. Female NKGB agents usually weigh two hundred fifty pounds and have at least two stainless steel teeth.”

“I’m starting to like you,” Janice said. “That’ll stop if you don’t tell me why Jimmy’s being relieved.”

“Fair enough. Out of school, DCI-Europe is about to be tripled in size. It needs a senior officer to run it. It’s as simple as that.”

“So Harry gets to pin his eagle on, and Jimmy gets to do what? Run the motor pool for the tripled-in-size DCI-Europe? Something like that?”

“He gets to do something he’s uniquely qualified to do.”

“Like what?”

“For example, acting as liaison between General Gehlen and Mr. Schultz and me, and between DCI-Europe and DCI-Southern Cone, and keeping Justice Jackson from being kidnapped by the NKGB.”

Janice considered that a moment.

“I think you’re too smart, Admiral, to try to con me.”

“Thank you.”

“So I’ll take that as the truth. I think our Red friends are going to cause trouble at Nuremberg, and Jimmy’s good at screwing up their evil intentions. But what’s with him wearing his medals? For that matter, what’s he doing here at Mattingly’s farewell party?”

“Since your interest in Captain Cronley’s welfare touches the cockles of this old sailor’s heart, Janice, I’ll tell you. You see General Seidel standing in the line with General Greene and Colonel Mattingly?”

“Uh huh.”

“Well, Seidel’s being transferred to the Pentagon. He and his staff—who are not going to Washington with him—think it’s a promotion, and that means they think G-2’s war on the DCI is going well. When they see me—and Jim wearing his new Legion of Merit—they will know that’s not so. And when Homer Greene drops into the conversation that DCI, in the person of Jim, is taking over protection of Mr. Justice Jackson, they’ll really get the message.”

“How does General Greene feel about me doing that?” Cronley asked.

“He said he thinks you’re just the guy for the job,” Souers said. “His CIC people there now—the XXIst CIC Detachment—are of course Army. The Army—the 1st Infantry Division—who has been charged with providing security for the trials thinks that includes protecting Bob Jackson and his people. There have been conflicts between the 1st Division and Greene’s people.”

“I suppose it’s occurred to you that you guys spend as much time in turf warfare as you do fighting the Red Menace?” Janice asked.

“Oh, yeah,” the admiral said. “That thought has passed once or twice through this old sailor’s mind. If you have a solution to our problem, Janice, I’m all ears.”

When she didn’t immediately reply, the admiral said, “That being the case, why don’t we all go over and make our manners to Generals Seidel and Greene and, of course, Colonel Mattingly?”

“That should be fun,” Janice said. “Homer Greene told me that Mattingly was practically in tears about my yarn about his drunken driving in East Germany. He said it would follow him for the rest of his life and ruin his career. Homer said what he said was, ‘I’d like to strangle that bitch.’”

She put her hand on Cronley’s arm.

“Let’s go, Sweety.”

“Into the valley of death,” Colonel Wallace said, “marches the noble DCI.”





Farber Palast
Stein, near Nuremberg
American Zone of Occupation, Germany
1905 20 February 1946

A three-vehicle convoy rolled up to the palace, which was red-roofed and three stories tall. In the lead was a gleaming Horch touring car. Following it was an olive drab 1941 Ford staff car with bumper markings that identified it as the 11th vehicle assigned to the 711th MKRC. Bringing up the rear was a U.S. Army three-quarter-ton ambulance. The red crosses which had once adorned the vehicle’s sides and roof had been painted over, and its bumper markings identified it as the 23rd vehicle assigned to the 711th MKRC.

Captain James D. Cronley, Jr. was at the wheel of the Horch. It was an enormous vehicle. Its fenders and hood were painted black, and the sides canary yellow. Spare tires encased in gleaming black covers were mounted in the front fenders, and there was a gleaming black trunk mounted above the rear chrome bumper.

There were two bullet holes in the left rear door of the car, and another in the left front door. The damage had occurred while the NKGB was kidnapping Colonel Robert Mattingly as he was en route from Schlosshotel Kronberg to the I.G. Farben building.

The vehicle had come into Captain Cronley’s possession via Mr. Oscar Schultz, executive assistant to chief of the Directorate of Central Intelligence, who had decided that Cronley had behaved himself at Colonel Mattingly’s farewell party.

Sitting beside Cronley was Miss Janice Johansen. Seated in the back were DCI Special Agents August Ziegler and Karl-Christoph Wagner. Ziegler was thirty-one but looked younger. “Casey” Wagner had the innocent face of a seventeen-year-old, but was six-feet-two, weighed two hundred thirty-two pounds, and could pass for perhaps eighteen or nineteen.

At the wheel of the Ford Staff car was DCI Special Agent Maksymilian “Max” Ostrowski. Beside him sat another former member of the Free Polish Air Force, and there were two more men with a similar background in the back seat, and four more in the trailing ambulance.

All the males, who were all wearing OD uniforms with civilian triangles identifying them as civilian employees of the U.S. Army, comprised the entire compliment of the newly formed Detachment “A” of DCI-Europe, and also of the newly formed XXXIVth CIC Detachment, which had been established in the hope it would obfuscate the existence of Detachment “A.”

They were going to Faber Palast at the recommendation of Miss Johansen, who said the accommodations of Farber Palast, which housed the press corps covering the Nuremberg Trials, were far superior to the Bachelor Officer quarters in Nuremberg. She said she was sure Cronley’s DCI credentials would dazzle the officer in charge of assigning rooms to the press.

Cronley agreed. DCI credentials, bearing the seal of the Office of the President of the United States, did tend to dazzle people.


The convoy rolled into a parking lot half-full of vehicles, most of them Army staff cars and jeeps but with a few American and German passenger cars among them. All the jeeps had PRESS painted on the panel below their windshields.

“Casey,” Cronley ordered, “you come in with Janice and me while I see if we get to rest our heads in this palace.”

The three got out of the Horch and walked into the palace lobby.

There was a wide curving staircase leading up from the lobby. At the foot of the staircase was a life-size statue of Diana, the goddess of the hunt. She was almost naked, with a bow and arrow in hand, standing on one foot as she presumably looked for game.

She was also wearing a pink brassiere and matching panties, and a six-inch cigar was planted between her lips.

“I think I’m going to like this place,” Cronley said.

“Ernest Hemingway found it satisfactory,” Janice said. “The bar offers ‘Hemingways’ which are gin martinis made to his personal recipe.”

“Now I know I’m going to like it,” Cronley said.

To one side of the stairway was what had once been a cloakroom, before the castle had been requisitioned by the Army of Occupation. Now it bore a sign: REGISTRY.

It was not attended, but there was a bell on its counter. Cronley thumped it and a moment later a sergeant appeared. He looked to be about as old as Casey, which caused a statistic to pop into Cronley’s mind: The average age of enlisted men in USFET was eighteen point something years.

“Hello, Miss Johansen,” the sergeant said. “Welcome back. Would you like your usual room?”

“Please. Thank you,” she said, and then added, “It has a large bed, Sweety, with a marvelous feather-filled mattress.”

“And what can I do for you, sir?”

“I’m going to need rooms for myself and ten of my officers.”

“No problem, sir. The palace is half-empty. May I have a copy of your orders, please?”

“I think I better speak to the officer in change, Sergeant. Would you fetch him, please?”

“He’s not available at the moment, sir.”

“Be a good boy and go in the bar and get him,” Janice ordered.

“Yes, ma’am.”

A plump Quartermaster Corps major appeared three minutes later.

“Hello, Charley,” Janice said. “Sweety, this is Major Levin, the inn-keeper. Charley, this is my pal Jim Cronley.”

“Welcome back, Janice. What can I do for you?”

“My pal here needs room for himself and ten of his officers.”

“Is there a problem?”

“He doesn’t have any orders.”

“We’re CIC,” Cronley said.

“That is a problem. The palace is for press only. The CIC has a kaserne downtown. I’m afraid you’re going to have to go there.”

“Actually, we’re not CIC,” Cronley said, and produced his DCI credentials.

The major was dazzled.

“I’ve never seen one of these before,” he said.

“Few people have,” Cronley said. “And please don’t tell anyone you’ve seen that one.”

“Or else Sweety will have to kill you, Charley,” Janice said.

“Is that going to get us in here, Major, or am I going to have to work my way up your chain of command?” Cronley asked.

The major considered the situation for a full thirty seconds. Finally, he asked, “How long will you be staying with us, Mr. Cronley?”

“Three or four days, anyway.”

“Sergeant, take care of these gentlemen,” the major ordered. “Put Mr. Cronley in the Duchess Suite.”

“That has a bed big enough for six people,” Janice said. “I know, because it’s right down the corridor from my room.”

“Casey, go get everybody,” Cronley ordered. “Tell them when they get settled to come to the bar.”

“Yes, sir.”




[ TWO ]
The Palace of Justice
Nuremberg, American Zone of Occupation, Germany
0855 21 February 1946

As they had left Farber Castle, Cronley had seen a table in the lobby with a sign on it reading “Help Yourself.” It was cluttered with all sorts of information about the Nuremberg Trials and the city of Nuremberg that might be of use to the Press Corps.

“Casey,” Cronley ordered, “take one of each. Two of the road map, which will, God willing, and if the creek don’t rise, guide us to the Palace of Justice.”

“Yes, sir.”

Casey scooped up an armful of the material and followed Cronley, Ziegler, and Ostrowski out of the building and to the staff car. Everyone was now wearing pinks-and-greens with civilian triangles on the lapels.

Cronley was slightly hung over. There had been at least two too many Hemingways in the bar, as Janice had successfully convinced a half-dozen of her very skeptical peers that her story about Mattingly and Ulyanov was all there was to the first story that Mattingly had been kidnapped. She had introduced CIC Special Agent Cronley and then named him as her source.

Afterward, surprising him not at all, he and Janice had carnal knowledge of one another in the bed — which really was large enough for six people — in the Duchess Suite. He didn’t really understand his relationship with her. The simple answer — that she liked to screw without any strings attached, which solved his problem in that regard — seemed too good to be true. He genuinely liked her, but as a buddy, with no more romantic involvement than he had with, say, Max Ostrowski or Augie Ziegler.

All he could do was hope the relationship would continue on its present terms, which seemed unlikely. Cronley was a devout believer in the theory that good situations never last long.


Finding the Palace of Justice wasn’t as difficult as he thought it would be. Directional signs had been put up at the major crossroads of the city, which, like most German cities, had been reduced to a sea of rubble by thousand plane bombing raids, one after the other.

Somehow, the Palace of Justice, like the I.G. Farben Building in Frankfurt — now housing USFET Headquarters — had apparently escaped destruction. Cronley had heard that the Farben Building had been spared on purpose. He had also heard that Marburg an der Lahn, where he had been briefly stationed as a CIC second lieutenant, had been spared because an Air Corps general had threatened the colonel leading a raid on Marburg’s railroad yards with castration if one of his bombs came anywhere near Phillip’s University, from which he had graduated.

When they reached the Palace of Justice, it turned out to be a four-story building with a two-floor red-roofed attic that didn’t look at all like the castles on picture post cards.

It was surrounded by fences topped with Concertina barbed wire, and guarded by soldiers wearing the shoulder insignia of the 1st Infantry Division. Their web belts and the leather pistol holsters attached to them were white, and they wore highly polished combat boots, into which their trousers had been “bloused,” and plastic helmet liners also white.

They were passed into what was now obviously a compound without trouble after Casey Wagner, who was driving, flashed his CIC credentials at the sergeant in charge of the striped pole barrier on the road.

And they found the building which housed the Office of the Chief United States Prosecutor without trouble. Getting into the building required that they each show identification.

Once inside the building, however, the trouble began.

A 1st Division captain and a sergeant sat behind a counter.

Conley extended his CIC credentials and announced that he was there to see Justice Jackson.

“That’s Mister Justice Jackson,” the captain said.

He then consulted a loose-leaf notebook, and then announced, “You don’t seem to be on the appointments schedule, Mr. Cronley.”

“I don’t have an appointment,” Cronley replied. “But I’m expected.”

“If you were expected, you would be on the appointments schedule,” the captain said.

“Tell you what,” Cronley said. “Why don’t you call Mr. Justice Jackson’s office and tell them I’m here?”

“I’m afraid I can’t do that.”

Cronley took his DCI credentials and showed them to the captain.

“Get on the goddamn phone, and now!”


They were marched, escorted by two 1st Division sergeants, down a long corridor, then passed through a door under a sign that read: CHIEF UNITED STATES PROSECUTOR.

A man in his late twenties wearing pinks and greens with triangles on the lapels sat behind a desk. He looked up.

“What’s this all about?” he demanded. “Who are you?”

“My name is Cronley, and I was led to believe Mr. Justice Jackson expects me.”

“If that were so, I’d have been so informed.”

An interior door opened. A fifty-ish, trim man in a dark business suit stood there looking out.

“Am I interrupting anything?”

“Sir, my name is Cronley.”

“They just bullied their way in here, Mr. Justice.”

“Well, Ken, consider yourself lucky to be alive. Mr. Cronley’s reputation precedes him. Please come in, Mr. Cronley.”

“Sir, may I bring my deputies with me?”

“Why don’t you leave them here with Ken while we have a private word? Would that be all right?”

“Yes, sir.”

Jackson waved him into his office, closed the door, and then signaled that Cronley should take a seat on a leather sofa against the wall, behind a small table.

“Coffee?” he asked, and then without waiting for a response bent over the table and poured coffee into two cups. He sat down beside Cronley.

“I knew you were coming, Mr. Cronley, because I had a telephone call from General Seidel. You know who I mean?”

“Yes, sir.”

“He said that he had just heard that you were being assigned to the trials and thought I should know something about you. He went on to tell me that you, quote, Were a poster child for Too Big For His Britches, end quote, and that, quote, it would be amusing were you not a dangerous loose cannon with too much authority for a twenty-two-year-old, end quote. Is that true?”

Oh, shit!

“General Seidel is not one of my admirers, sir.”


BOOK IV in the bestselling CLANDESTINE OPERATIONS series.
Published 26 December 2017.
Order copies here