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 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.