Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Die Glocke...

In 1937, a German archaeology team was working at a site in the Sinai Desert. Local legends hinted that Knight Templars had traveled this route while fleeing the Fall of Jerusalem. They supposedly carried with them, important Biblical treasures such as the Spear of Power. Their goal was to reach Alexandria and then take ships to Cyprus. They never reached Egypt. A powerful sandstorm overcame the Templar column and they were forever lost to history.

The Templars had not been transporting the fabled Spear of Power. Instead they were transporting a device of great power and evil, which they had been duty bound to prevent from falling into the hands of the Infidels. The Vatican itself had sanctioned the mission and would spend many centuries dreading the day when the lost device would be found.

That day unfortunately came and by agents of the Third Reich. Vatican spies confirmed that the Germans had indeed found the device and had quickly moved it into Iraq. From Iraq, the German Luftwaffe transported the device back to Germany. 

Vatican spies tried unsuccessfully to sabotage the transport aircraft. All efforts to prevent delivery of the device to Germany were failures. And these repeated efforts were duly discovered by the Gestapo, which placed the Catholic Church squarely in the cross hairs of Heydrich's SD.

By 1940, the world was hard at war and the location of the device had all been lost to Vatican spies within Germany. A lucky break came when a Bishop in Prague was invited to a meeting at Hradcany Castle at the request of Reinhard Heydrich. Heydrich had invited Catholic and Evangelical Bishops to to a meeting to discuss their observance of Nazi power in Czechoslovakia. Ultimately, the Bishops realized that they were being questioned as to their support of the liquidation of the Jewish population in Prague and Czechoslovakia. As this Bishop was leaving, he overheard an aide request a moment of Heydrich's time to review an urgent message regarding...die Glocke.
 As Heydrich was head of the SD and the Vatican understood that the device was under his control, they quickly surmised that die Glocke was the German name given to the device. But how to confirm that was now the question...

The answer came quickly. There was one man in the hierarchy of the Third Reich, who the Vatican knew could be trusted and could learn what and where die Glocke was hidden. The agents of the Vatican reached out clandestinely to the head of the German Abwehr, Admiral Wilhelm Canaris.

Canaris, a devout Catholic and ardent anti-communist, was receptive to the concerns of the Vatican. Through his spy network, he was already aware of die Glocke. In fact, Canaris had been invited to attend a meeting in Prague at Heydrich's request to discuss "an artifact" of some worth.

In early 1941, Canaris attend this secret meeting, which included many German scientists, who worked under the direction of Himmler’s SS. The only non SS or SD representatives at the meeting were Canaris and Martin Bormann, who represented the Fuehrer. Heydrich led the meeting and revealed that “Die Glocke” was some sort of alien device that allowed travel into alternate times or dimensions. Researchers had successfully sent a two man team forward into time. And they had returned with significant technology that was already finding its way into the weapons of the Third Reich.  Unfortunately, the two men died shortly after their return in a most horrible way that left them more monster than man. As a result, further forays into the future had been suspended. Heydrich also noted that no one had yet traveled back into time at the strict orders of the Fuehrer. Borman, characteristically silent, nodded to confirm that the Fuehrer currently forbade any forays into the past.

Several of the attending scientists also spoke and revealed that the device had behaved in a random and chaotic fashion, which resulted in the opening of some sort of gateway to another dimension. And for the first time, Canaris noted real fear being expressed from these same scientists as they described creatures that had materialized from these alternate dimension. The creatures looked at first glance to be human…but they moved with ferocious speed and killed many research workers before being destroyed by flamethrower teams. Heydrich tabled further discussion of these events and pledged everyone in the meeting room to absolute secrecy on pain of death should they ever reveal what had been discussed. The meeting ended abruptly at that point.

Snow was falling as the meeting adjourned. Canaris and Heydrich, former Naval comrades, spoke together outside the gates of Hradcany Castle.
In this brief discussion, Heydrich revealed the location of die Glocke. It was a research facility in the Carpathian Mountains of northeast Czechoslovakia. So collegial was their talk, that Heydrich invited the Abwehr Chief to visit the facility later in the year as it became fully operational.  Canaris asked if any one in the SD were concerned about the "monster" effects noted when die Glocke had been used. Heydrich's mood darkened and he ended their conversation abruptly.

Canaris knew that Heydrich was responsible for monstrous crimes and a plan which Abwehr agents had discovered entitled die Endlosung. In fact, Heydrich was planning a meeting at Wannsee in Berlin to review die Endlosung. Canaris had not been invited, but feared that it would make the killings by the Einsatzgruppen in the East look at small time murder. Canaris knew that his secret opposition to Hitler and the Third Reich were correct. A monstrous evil was growing in Germany...and it must be stopped.

Canaris quickly organized liked minded officers of the Wehrmacht who continued to observe their Catholic faith. Through his trusted Abwehr agents, he put together a cabal of German officers, who were dedicated to the overthrow of Hitler and an end to the evils of the Third Reich.  These officers were told to await instructions, which would follow when the time was right. Canaris was a patient man and knew that hasty actions would imperil any moves against the Nazi hierarchy. Canaris also understood that he and his organization were every day under more and more scrutiny by Heydrich's SD and Himmler's SS. Canaris sensed correctly that these groups were the embodiment of evil within the Third Reich.

One of the most prominent Catholic officers to support Canaris, was Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg. In Stauffenberg, Canaris knew was the one man, who would focus all his energies on the elimination of Hitler. 

Canaris, meanwhile determined that he must focus on finding and disabling die Glocke. But he needed more information about it, which the Vatican agents had promised to deliver to him.

In October of 1941, Canaris traveled to Spain, ostensibly to meet with Franco to discuss plans for a German attack on Gibraltar. Fluent in Spanish, Canaris had already convinced Franco to deny any German access to Gibraltar through Spain.

After a brief meeting with Franco, Canaris met secretly with Vatican agents who provided him top secret information about die Glocke, which the Vatican had kept stored for centuries.

Canaris learned that die Glocke was an ancient device that was first noted in Sumerian Texts. Sargon of Akkad, supposedly utilized die Glocke  to conquer the Sumerian city-states in the 24th and 23rd centuries BC. The device was said to have unleashed hordes of monsters upon those ancient city states that had resisted Sargon. Ultimately, even Sargon forbid the use of the device and had it hidden away, where it remained until discovered by the Knights Templar during the Crusades.

The Vatican had given orders that the device be removed from the Middle East and returned to Cyprus, where it could be properly hidden or destroyed. Even then, it was considered a device of great evil and threat to all humanity.

Canaris was shaken by the information and assured the Vatican agents that he would utilize all means at his disposal to eliminate the device. Before the meeting adjourned, Canaris also met with British MI6 agents. British spies had also learned of die Glocke and were extremely concerned that it could change the course of the war to the Third Reich's favor. They offered whatever assistance was needed. Canaris recommended that MI6 assassinate Reinhard Heydrich. With Heydrich removed, Canaris felt certain that the Abwehr could move in and take control of die Glocke research facility.

Czech commandos succeeded in killing Heydrich.
But Canaris had underestimated Himmler. Himmler's SS quickly assumed control of all SD activities and accelerated operations at the research facility holding die Glocke.

By 1943, Canaris and his agents were increasingly frustrated in learning about die Glocke. The SS had the facility locked down and Himmler was keeping an ever watchful eye on Canaris, whom he suspected of treason against the state.

Canaris sensed that time and opportunity were both fast evaporating. Therefore, he made one final trip to Spain to put into motion Operation Stoppzeit. Canaris knew he needed trained soldiers and soldiers who could be trusted. Spain held the answer. Franco's Blue Division had returned to Spain from hard service on the Leningrad Front. The final 800 Spaniards had returned as Canaris and Franco met with Vatican agents to formulate Operation Stoppzeit.

At the request of the Third Reich, Franco had agreed to allow Blue Division volunteers to form a Grenadier, Waffen SS "Unit Ezquerra".  Roughly 300 men had volunteered. To this 300 would go another 90 men who would mysteriously disappear once inside Germany. These 90 men would form Special Operations Kommando 6 under the command of SS Sturmbannfuehrer Rolf Steiner. Steiner was the Abwehr's most successful plant in Himmler's SS. Steiner had served with distinction with the 5th SS Panzer Division "Wiking"". Wounded at Foxtail Island in 1943, he was convalescing in Bad Tolz, when Canaris' agents informed him of his new assignment.

Special Kommando 6 was a unit created out of thin to consist ostensibly of a cadre of wounded Wiking grenadiers. They would be utilized in Czechoslovakia to protect various military installations outside of Prague. Partisan activities were on the rise and several faked attacks conducted by the Abwehr protected the cover of this newly created SS unit.

Steiner, a devout Catholic as well, was eager to assume his new role.  By February of 1944, Steiner and his 90 Spaniards had been secreted into Czechoslovakia. They were billeted in a mountain village only miles from die Glocke research facility.

But just as Operation Stoppzeit seemed ready to launch...disaster stuck. Having suspected Canaris of treason for many months, Himmler decided in February 1944 to place Canaris on house arrest. Canaris arrest set in motion two major events. Conspirators working with Claus von Stauffenberg moved forward with their plans to kill Hitler and within Abwehr, Canaris' closest subordinate, Generalmajor Erwin von Lahousen took control of Operation Stoppzeit. 

Lahousen,  as a confidant of Canaris, knew the SS were watching him. So in June, Lahousen fulfilled the final operational requirement of Operation Stoppzeit. He managed to acquire an SS enigma machine and one that was registered to receive commands from Hitler's personal machine. He delivered it to Steiner as he passed through Czechoslovakia on his way to Army Group South on the Eastern Front. In their one and only conversation, Lahousen provided Steiner with his full operational orders as drafted by Canaris prior to his arrest.

Steiner was to wait until the Fuehrer's enigma machine sent out a two word command..."die Glocke". Upon receiving it, Steiner was to take his men and destroy the research facility housing die Glocke. Steiner and his men were to eliminate all scientists,guards, etc. that were on the site. They were then to destroy to move the device to the Karlstein Castle outside of Prague. There it would be hidden by agents of the Vatican. Steiner was on his own for all other operational activities.

Lahousen would be wounded on July 19th, 1944 and Steiner would lose his last link to a higher command. The very next day, von Stauffenberg executed his attempt to kill Hitler in the Wolf's Lair. It's failure resulted in the loss of nearly all the remaining officers loyal to Canaris, who would himself be sent to Flossenburg Concentration Camp in the following weeks.

As the following months of 1944 passed, Steiner and his men were all but forgotten. The Russian Front had collapsed and in the West, Germany had launched its final bid for victory in the Ardennes. But Steiner had not wasted the weeks. He and a few hand picked men had scouted the research facility. They had identified guard stations, barracks for the guards as well as for scientists and laborers. They had also noted the strange lights and sounds emanating from one large building. This, they discerned must be the building housing die Glocke. 

To keep his men sharp, Steiner had them patrol in the mountains on long arduous hikes. This kept the me busy and away from the prying eyes of the locals, who had noted that the Kommandos spoke a language other than German. But supplies were a problem. Steiner needed more heavy firepower for his troops. So as supply trains passed near Prague, Steiner and his men would use their SS runes to "requisition" supplies from the rail sidings. General Schorner had diverted many supplies away from the northern sector of the Eastern Front to his troops in Czechoslovakia. Steiner and his men would benefit handsomely. Flamethrowers, demo charges, and panzerschrecks were stockpiled along with automatic weapons and ammunition. And the greatest coup of all were two Panther Tanks equipped for night fighting. The locals noted the two Panthers with some interest as Steiner's men learned to drive them throughout the winter. 
Lastly, Steiner managed to acquire enough trucks to move his men and die Glocke to the Karlstein Castle.

By March, 1945...Steiner and his men were ready. But the war seemed to have passed them by. Steiner expected the arrival of American or Soviet troops at any time. Surely, the war would end and the need for Steiner and his Spaniards would end with it.

Then April 1945 came and the death throes of the Third Reich began. Steiner and his Kommandos remained out of site as German troops moved towards Prague and on to Germany. Steiner's scouts reported Soviet troops advancing in adjoining valleys, but none had made a move towards the research facility. Apparently, the Allies were not aware of die Glocke....??

On April 20th, Steiner realized how wrong he had been. Hundreds of US bombers appeared in afternoon and flattened the research facility. With Canaris gone and not knowing of Steiner and his men, the Western Allied had decided to bomb the facility to dust to prevent any change of the Soviets acquiring die Glocke.

Steiner and his men managed to survive as their own village was hit by errant bombs. On the 25th, Steiner's scouts reported that the raid had leveled the facility...but that the building with die Glocke was still emitting the strange lights and sounds seen weeks earlier. And guards and scientists were seen entering the ruined building. Unbelievably the facility was still operational.

April 30th, 3:30 PM...Steiner's engima machine began to receive a message...two words...die Glocke...in an instant Steiner gave the command to move on the facility. 

Two Panther Tanks, several trucks and 90 Spaniards in SS camouflage moved towards the research facility. In the west, the sun was already beginning to set behind the mountains. And as they neared the facility...a weird siren could be heard. A chill ran down Steiner's spine. He knew die Glocke had been activated...what that meant...he had no idea...he urged the Panthers to increase speed. Operation Stoppzeit had begun....

The fate of the world would  be in the hands of Steiner and his Spaniards.

Unfortunately for Steiner and his men...they do not understand the full evil of the final order to activate die Glocke. Everyone in the Nazi Hierarchy with knowledge of die Glocke, believes it will be used to alter time and reset the Third Reich. But Hitler's final order was not to reset time...but to unleash hell on earth and bring about the Gotterdammerung. He last order was to burn the world.

The German people had proven themselves unworthy of the Third Reich. Now their Fuehrer would complete their destruction and that of the rest of the world. An Endlosung as his final revenge on the world.

The Vatican had of course long realized the true nature of die Glocke and would have to trust that 90 faithful Spaniards led by a German would be enough to turn back the evil unleashed by die Glocke. Only time would tell...

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