The Cats Who Saved America, Chapter 3, part 3

Kruger looked to the west. “How close would the ship have to be for the small rockets to reach it?”

“As close as possible,” Von Braun told him. “I think he wants you to take it all the way into New York harbor so that some bombs would fall on the city and others would go farther out to destroy large population areas.”

“It sounds like a suicide mission to me,” Kruger said.

Von Braun nodded. “it did to me, too. But he told me there are plans to have you and your crew abandon ship and the rockets would be launched automatically by electronics. The equipment is already on board. Oh, and there are other plans, too. The Fuehrer is very thorough.”

Kruger was puzzled. “Other plans?”

“I’m not sure exactly how this is being planned, but after all the rockets have been fired, the ship is to be brought close to shore and oil is to be sprayed as far out as possible.”

“Oil?”

“And then the ship would be exploded, doing severe damage to the harbor and igniting the oil. It could set all of Manhattan Island ablaze.”

“But my crew and I would be long gone by that time.”

Von Braun nodded. “That’s what he said.”

The captain had one last question.

“Do you know whether the Fuehrer is coming here tonight so that I can discuss this with him?”

Von Braun nodded. “Yes, i think so. Oh, and what I have just told you is, of course, top secret. If I were you, I would discuss with him only the rocket launch, which he told me to explain to you”

Kruger leaned on the old ship’s railing, ” The city of New York,” he repeated to himself.

***

Meanwhile, Lili was informing Hans of a discovery she had made.

“In the compartment next to the captain’s quarters, lots of big boxes. Not yet opened. And a lot of cord, which I guess goes with what’s in the boxes.”

Hans licked a paw. “Sounds logical. I’ll bet Captain Kruger doesn’t know about this. We need to keep an eye on it for him. Maybe we can figure out a way to stop the nasty little man who hates cats from doing what he’s planning.”

Lili agreed, “Maybe.”

to be continued next month….

The Cats Who Saved America, Chapter 3, part 2

Captain Kruger and the men accompanying him stopped at the gangplank, where they turned and saw another man approaching. The captain walked toward him and held out a hand.

“Dr. Von Braun,” he said. “I recognized you from your pictures. I’m Kruger, the captain of this vessel.”

Von Braun saluted him. “Yes, Captain. They said you’d be here. The Fuehrer asked me to come by, check the work and explain to you what’s being done.”

Kruger nodded. “Find. I’ve been wondering about all this. But I thought you were involved with space and rocketry. What does that have to do with an old ship?”

Von Braun put a hand on his shoulder and guided him up the gangplank.

“Well, it’s an interesting story. Let’s get up on the deck away from the others. Please don’t call me doctor, I’m not a doctor. Some university gave me that title. I’m just a scientist.”

“But aren’t you the one who’s directed the rocketry into London? Doing a lot of damage, I hear.”

Von Braun nodded. “Yes, so far as we can tell. I’m sure that’s why the Fuehrer came to me about the special project involving this ship.”

Kruger frowned. “Special project?”

“Von Braun paused near one of the installations on the deck.

“The Fuehrer asked me if small rockets could be launched from this vessel. I inspected the ship and told him yes, if the right kind of launching pad were installed.”

Kruger looked at the mechanical devices lining the deck. “Launching pads?”

“Then he asked me how many could be installed. I told him perhaps 20, but that they could not all be fired at the same time or there would be damage to the vessel. I suggested allowing 60 seconds between launchings.”

“What would be launched?” Kruger already knew.

“Rockets, Captain. Rockets carrying as much explosive material as possible. Rockets designed to travel not more than a few miles. This would be sort of a miniature version of the rocketry now targeting London, but London would not be the target.”

Kruger was beginning to understand. “The Fuehrer asked me if this ship could make it across the Atlantic, and I told him it could. So I presume the target would be America.”

“That’s correct, Captain. But a very special part of America. A part where it could do massive damage not only to the American people but to the nation’s business and economy. The kind of damage that would demoralize the American people and their government.”

Kruger was stunned. “You mean…Washington?”

Von Braun shook his head. “No, Captain. The Americans have all sorts of plans for abandoning their seat of government if it were attacked. No, not Washington. The city of New York, a place that has no plan of survival. Where Americans feel absolutely safe. The city of New York.”

to be continued…

The Cats Who Saved America, Chapter 3, part 1

It was early in the morning, a good time to hunt for rats on an old ship. The moon was setting in the West and the sun about to rise in the East.

It would have been a peacful morning on the Rhine River, expcet that workmen had been making noise all night and keeping Lili Marlene and Hans awake with the banging and clanging and sawing and hammering involved in putting some “special additions” on the old ship; and by order of Adolph Hitler himself the work had to be done by special crews sworn to secrecy under pain of death.

“What on earth are they doing?” Lili asked Hans, who was recovering well from his run-in with a bullet from the pistol of one of the fuehrer’s personal guards.

“I have no idea,” Hans told her.

“Some sort of project for the nasty little man who’s afraid of cats. But it appears the workmen have installed lots of small mechanical devices along one entire side of the ship. Come on, Lili, “Let’s go find a rat. There are some very large ones living on this vessel.”

Lili thought for a few moments.

“You go ahead. I may wait for Fritz to bring the breakfast scraps. They feed the crew very generously and there’s always a lot left over.”

Hans looked out toward the dock. “Is that nastly little man coming back? We dont’ want them shooting at us again.”

Lili began grooming herself. “Probably not till they start work again this evening. He comes and inspects what they’ve done the night before.”

It was daylight now, and several men were approaching. “Nothing to worry about. It’s Captain Kruger. I think he likes us. He tickled me under the chin the other day.”

Hans agreed and trotted off to inspect a dark passageway he knew led to the cabins where the crew ate.

Lili found a nesting place in sight of the dining area and curled up for a short nap.

to be continued…

The Cats Who Saved America, Chapter 2, part 2

THE CATS CONVERSE

The fuehrer and his bodyguards were gone. Captain Kruger was on the dock talking with Fritz about preparations of the old boat for an ocean trip. The captain had assured Hitler that the boat could handle it, and Hitler had replied that within a few weeks crews would arrive to make “special preparations” in several areas of the vessel. He did not say exactly what, but made it clear that all work would be carried out secretly, and everything done would be explained to Captain Kruger well in advance of the ship’s departure.

Lili Marlene hurried along the deck, sniffing at doors of cabins and storage areas until she found one that had been left partially open. She went to it, paused, and looked around and knew immediately what was inside.

And the cat communications began. Fritz knew she would find the cabin and wanted her to know that her friend Hans was alive.

Cats communicate mind to mind, and there are humans, including Fritz, who are able sometimes to tune in on those communications.

Lili went straight to a box containing old rags which had been fashioned into a bed. Hans was there, sleeping, and Lili awakened them.

“Hans! Are you alright?”

The male cat opened his eyes.

“Hello there, Lili. I’m thankful they didn’t shoot at you. Those humans must be crazy. Who was the idiot doing all the screaming?”

Lili sat down next to the box of rags, relieved to find Hans had survived.

“Did they hurt you? Did you get hit  by a bullet?”

Hans sat up in a crouch.

“Just barely scraped one of my legs,” he said. “I’ll be alright in a day or so. Those crazy people are gone, are they not?”

“Yes. And I see Fritz brought you something to eat. The crazy little human doing the screaming wanted him to throw you in the river.”

Hans licked his hurt leg. “I know. I heard him. And Lili, as you know, we cats are able to detect things about certain humans, and it was clear to me that I was confronted by a human who was pure evil.”

“The crazy little human doing the screaming is the chancellor of our country of Germany. And he is, as you said, a lunatic who deserves to be removed from this earth. I would love to get my claws into him.”

Hans closed his eyes and opened them again. “He will receive what he is due, sooner or later.”

Lili stood up. “I believe I could take him down with one leap and claw his throat.”

Hans looked up at Lili, who was almost twice his size. “I’m sure you could, Lili, but I have a feeling we will have an opportunity for revenge on that monster.”

Lili looked down at him. “A feeling?”

Hans turned over. “We cats get feelings about things, I have a feeling we will have the opportunity of punishing this crazy devili of a human. But we must be patient.”

Hans was about to go back to sleep. “I hope so. That human is capable of destroying other humans. Not just cats. Perhaps we can stop him.”

Lili sat up, tasted a little of the scraps Fritz had left and then groomed herself. “I know. Those humans are dangerous not just to the humans around here but to the world. They’re out to hurt and kill other humans. I hope we can stop them.”

Hans lay back down and closed his eyes. “Fritz will help. He told me he was going with us on the voyage.”

“Go to sleep, Hans. So your leg will heal. You and I and Fritz may have a chance to stop these insane humans from hurting anyone else. But I think we’d both better stay out of sight. I’m sure there will be lots of humans coming to work on this ship to get it ready.”

Hans closed his eyes. But before he went to sleep he communicated one message to Lili: “My feeling is that what they’re planning will be something dangerously evil and will be a threat to many, many other humans. We need to find out what they’re got to do and stop them.”

“Yes, indeed,” Lili replied. “And we will do it, Hans. You just get plenty of rest.”

to be continued…

The Cats Who Saved America, Chapter 2, part 1

ADOLPH HITLER’S PLAN

GERMANY, 1943

At a dock in the Rhine River there was a very old but very large ship, which had carried freight and then been converted to carry oil and finally to carry weapons in case it was attacked. The vessel served no purpose and was expendable. And it suited Hitler’s plan perfectly. It was a chilly spring night when a squinty-eyed old man named Fritz took Captain Kruger, a much-revered hero for saving a destroyer from being sunk by a submarine on a tour of the old ship. Accompanying them was a cat.

“That,” observed Kruger, “is the largest domestic cat I’ve ever seen. What do you call it?”

“It’s a Forest Cat, Captain,” Fritz replied. “Just one step away from linking the wild cats with our housecats.” He petted the cat. “She is a big one, isn’t she? We call her Lili Marlene for the girl in the song that’s so popular with our troops.”

“I’ve always been fond of cats,” Kruger said, leaning down to get a better look at Lili. “But let me warn you. Get her out of sight, because the fuehrer is to meet us on the dock, and you may have heard about his problem with cats,”

Fritz looked at him quizzically. Kruger, a very large man, stood straight and gazed down at the cat, who was now sniffing his leg.

“Cats drive him crazy,” the captain said. “Even crazier than he already is. Please don’t quote me or he’ll have my head. The man throws fits if he sees a cat. Orders his bodyguards to kill every cat in sight. So send your cat back on the ship and tell her to stay hidden.”

“Will he let her stay on the ship?” Fritz asked. “And I’d like to go too, if you take her out.”

“When there are men on the ship, it means there’ll be rats. She’ll serve a good purpose. But not a word to the fuehrer..” He paused and listened. “I think I hear them coming now. Get the cat back on the ship.”

Fritiz guided Lili to a cabin door and pushed her inside. “You be quiet now.” he told her. “No noise,” He turned to the Kruger. “Will the fuehrer get on the ship?”

“I doubt it,” the captain replied. “Let’s stay on the dock. I can tell him all about the vessel.”

Fritz was curious. “What does he plan to do, Captain?”

Kruger shrugged. “Your guess is as good as mine, Mr. Fritz. Perhaps he’ll tell us. But I know he wants to take the vessel out, and I think she’s in shape to make at least one more trip.” He turned back toward where Hitler and a small group of bodyguards were approaching.

Suddenly there was a scream, and three of the men accompanying Hitler moved closer to him as if to protect him. Two uniformed men drew their pistols, the modern Walther P-38s, and pointed them toward the end of the dock.

“Kill it!” screamed Hitler. “Kill it!”

He was struggling to get loose from the plain clothes bodyguards, but they guarded him as if an assassination attempt was occurring.

“Cat,” Hitler screamed. “Cat! Kill it!”

One of the uniformed men aimed his pistol and fired three shots, and Kruger could see something about 50 feet away thrown high into the air.

Now the other uniformed man fired, and whatever it was slumped down in a heap, still moving.

“We got it,” one of the men told the fuehrer quietly. “Nothing to fear now,” He holstered his gun.

Fritz had witnessed all this from the gangplank and now hurried to where a wounded cat was lying.

He scooped it up in his arms and walked back toward the ship.

“Throw it in the river,” screamed Hitler. “Throw it in…”

Fritz started up the gangplank.

“I’m taking it to the other side of the ship,” he told Hitler. “Where the water is deeper.”

Hitler did not reply and Fritz reached the top of the gangplank and disappeared through the door.

And the “attack” on Germany’s chancellor was over.

 

The Cats Who Saved America – Chapter 1, part 2

And so the “fireside chats” began, and, despite the fact that radio wasn’t quite perfected at this point, it seemed to work well in reaching those able to tune in.

But while Roosevelt was “trying out” on his listeners an assortment of ways he told them would improve the nation’s economy–some worked, others didn’t–the bad guys in Europe and elsewhere were very busy with their own projects, most of which revolved around conquering other people’s territory.

In the summer of 1934, Adolph Hitler carried out his “blood purge” of political and military rivals in Germany in what became known as the “Night Of The Long Knives.”

Germany and Japan entered into the Anti-Cominterm Pact, enabling axis nations to forge strategic plans of action.

Through all of this, one of Roosevelt’s biographers said, the West was “floundering” and Roosevelt was more of a “pussyfooting politician” than a political leader.

In 1936 Hitler, using the title “fuehrer,” sent troops into the Rhineland in a move that was an unquestionable threat to France.

A would-be dictator named Franco was busy grabbing Spain; and several other countries, including Germany and Italy, were ready to hail him as the new ruler of that country.

Mussolini was seizing Albania, while Franco was seizing Madrid, and FDR commented on the speed with which these things were happening in Europe. The Italian dictator had already grabbed Ethiopia.

Then came the invasion of Poland by Hitler, and within a brief time both Great Britain and France had declared war on Hitler’s Germany. Germany forced France and Britain to retreat to a place called Dunquerque, and both were calling on the United States for help.

Japan, meanwhile had come under the thumb of a warmonger named Tojo, and Pearl Harbor drew nearer, to no one’s great astonishment. The United States fully expected to be attacked by Japan on December 8th, 1941, but the attack came a day earlier. meanwhile the Germans had pushed British forces into Egypt. Europe was quite a mess.

And so was the United States.Tojo was swallowing up Guam, Wake Island and the Philippines, Malaya, Burma and the Dutch East Indies among other places.

Roosevelt need time to change America into a machine capable of fighting a war, and in the time this took American soldiers and Marines were trying to defend themselves with the weapons their fathers had used in World War I. Rifles were bolt action Springfields which were eventually replaced by a rifle called the Garand, a semi-automatic gun, firing each time the trigger was pulled. Its main claim to fame was that it could be buried in several feet of messy mud and still brought out in working condition.

Hitler’s admirals urged him to attack Atlantic supply lines over which America was sending arms and other things to Great Britain. But Hitler refused because he had set his sights on conquering Russia.

Americans responded well to Roosevelt’s call to arms. School children, even little boys, learned to knit and knitted squares from which blankets were made and sent to the British.

American factories were converted to produce war materials. A plant that had made mix masters, for instance, ended up making .45 caliber pistols. And during the two years following Pearl Harbor things began to get better for the United States. in 1942 Jimmy Doolittle led a raid from an aircraft carrier to bomb Tokyo, and by 1943 Roosevelt and others in high places were confident we would eventually win.

U.S. troops forced the Germans out of Africa, invaded Sicily and Italy and otherwise turned things around. Hitler saw his world-conquering plan coming apart. And he knew something would have to be done if the Germans were to keep on being the “master race.”

The Nazi dictator had seen the state of array American interests fell into after Pearl Harbor. He had listened to Roosevelt’s “fireside chats” and he decided something had to be done to create a “Pearl Harbor East,” something that would upset U.S. interests in Europe just as Pearl Harbor had upset them in the West, which was now experiencing strong counter-attacks by U.S. forces to recapture islands and other locations lost to the Japanese.

Yes, a “Pearl Harbor East” was on the mind of Adolf Hitler. But how to accomplish that?

The Cats Who Saved America – Chapter 1, part 1

THE WHITE HOUSE

It was 1933. Far too early for Americans to experience the horrors that were taking place in Europe in preparation for an assortment of wars. But the United States was facing another kind of horror, one called The Great Depression.

The new president had just taken office and was faced with many problems and a need for clear communications with the American people. He discussed the domestic situation with his wife, who also happened to be his fifth cousin once removed, and sought her opinion about a new medium he was thinking of using to reach the people of America.

“When I was young,” Franklin Roosevelt told her, “our family would sit by the fire on a winter’s day and chat about many things, some of them very important; and somehow this setting gave our communications an extra measure of credibility. I think that with radio we can eventually reach millions of Americans in what I could call “fireside chats” and give them the reassurance they need in order to handle the problems that face us all.”

“If you’re going to have a fireside chat,” replied Eleanor Roosevelt Roosevelt, “you should have a fireside cat.”

Her husband seemed partially amused and partially shocked.

“Well our cousin Teddy had several cats,” Eleanor continued. “They came to the White House receptions and state dinners, and you have a drawing in your political cartoon scrapbook of one of his cats sitting at the entrance to the dining room and forcing the guests to walk around it to get to their places.”

The president recalled the cartoon and chuckled.

“Abe Lincoln loved cats,” Eleanor continued. “They say that when the burdens of war were too much for him he would get down on the floor and play with the kittens. He made the statement that ‘no matter how much cats fight, there always seem to be plenty of kittens.”

“And don’t forget that Calvin Coolidge was the first to use the new medium, radio, to get the public to help find his cat when it was lost.”

“It worked, too,” she added.

The president nodded and changed the subject. He was not a cat person, and his mind was on the many, many things he had to explain to Americans about the economy and reassure them that he and the rest of their government were quite mindful of the predicaments that affected everyone.

to be continued…

And so the “fireside chats” began, and, despite the fact that radio wasn’t quite perfected at this point, it seemed to work well in reaching those able to tune in.

But while Roosevelt was “trying out” on his listeners an assortment of ways he told them would improve the nation’s economy–some worked, others didn’t–the bad guys in Europe and elsewhere were very busy with their own projects, most of which revolved around conquering other people’s territory.

In the summer of 1934, Adolph Hitler carried out his “blood purge” of political and military rivals in Germany in what became known as the “Night Of The Long Knives.”

Germany and Japan entered into the Anti-Cominterm Pact, enabling axis nations to forge strategic plans of action.

Through all of this, one of Roosevelt’s biographers said, the West was “floundering” and Roosevelt was more of a “pussyfooting politician” than a political leader.

In 1936 Hitler, using the title “fuehrer,” sent troops into the Rhineland in a move that was an unquestionable threat to France.

A would-be dictator named Franco was busy grabbing Spain; and several other countries, including Germany and Italy, were ready to hail him as the new ruler of that country.

Mussolini was seizing Albania, while Franco was seizing Madrid, and FDR commented on the speed with which these things were happening in Europe. The Italian dictator had already grabbed Ethiopia.

Then came the invasion of Poland by Hitler, and within a brief time both Great Britain and France had declared war on Hitler’s Germany. Germany forced France and Britain to retreat to a place called Dunquerque, and both were calling on the United States for help.

Japan, meanwhile had come under the thumb of a warmonger named Tojo, and Pearl Harbor drew nearer, to no one’s great astonishment. The United States fully expected to be attacked by Japan on December 8th, 1941, but the attack came a day earlier. meanwhile the Germans had pushed British forces into Egypt. Europe was quite a mess.

And so was the United States.Tojo was swallowing up Guam, Wake Island and the Philippines, Malaya, Burma and the Dutch East Indies among other places.

Roosevelt need time to change America into a machine capable of fighting a war, and in the time this took American soldiers and Marines were trying to defend themselves with the weapons their fathers had used in World War I. Rifles were bolt action Springfields which were eventually replaced by a rifle called the Garand, a semi-automatic gun, firing each time the trigger was pulled. Its main claim to fame was that it could be buried in several feet of messy mud and still brought out in working condition.

Hitler’s admirals urged him to attack Atlantic supply lines over which America was sending arms and other things to Great Britain. But Hitler refused because he had set his sights on conquering Russia.

Americans responded well to Roosevelt’s call to arms. School children, even little boys, learned to knit and knitted squares from which blankets were made and sent to the British.

American factories were converted to produce war materials. A plant that had made mix masters, for instance, ended up making .45 caliber pistols. And during the two years following Pearl Harbor things began to get better for the United States. in 1942 Jimmy Doolittle led a raid from an aircraft carrier to bomb Tokyo, and by 1943 Roosevelt and others in high places were confident we would eventually win.

U.S. troops forced the Germans out of Africa, invaded Sicily and Italy and otherwise turned things around. Hitler saw his world-conquering plan coming apart. And he knew something would have to be done if the Germans were to keep on being the “master race.”

The Nazi dictator had seen the state of array American interests fell into after Pearl Harbor. He had listened to Roosevelt’s “fireside chats” and he decided something had to be done to create a “Pearl Harbor East,” something that would upset U.S. interests in Europe just as Pearl Harbor had upset them in the West, which was now experiencing strong counter-attacks by U.S. forces to recapture islands and other locations lost to the Japanese.

Yes, a “Pearl Harbor East” was on the mind of Adolf Hitler. But how to accomplish that?