Timothy McDonald reported this story on Tuesday, April 5, 2011 12:46:00
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ELELANOR HALL: Now to a bizarre wartime story that’s so farcical that it could have been a script for Hogan’s Heroes.
Newly declassified MI5 documents tell the tale of a bungled Nazi mission to infiltrate the US and sabotage its factories.
The documents describe almost comical ineptitude and they also suggest that the Nazis made a very strange choice when they picked the mission’s leader, as Timothy McDonald reports.
TIMOTHY MCDONALD: At first glance, the declassified documents tell a story as absurd as any fictitious wartime comedy.
But unlike Hogan’s Heroes there appears to be a bit of incompetence on both sides. The saboteurs themselves were less than subtle. Even before they left for the US, they were giving themselves away.
VOICE OVER: Haupt, when drunk at the hotel bar, told everyone that he was a secret agent, something which was thought by the Abwehr to have contributed to the failure of the undertaking.
TIMOTHY MCDONALD: When they arrived in a submarine off the coast of the Long Island, the Americans weren’t a model of efficiency either.