SHADOW OF THE SWASTIKA is the story of Hitler’s plan to launch a massive air attack against the Panama Canal in the spring of 1943. Hitler later moved the date up to December 7, 1941. The plan, designated as Code Orange, calls for building a secret airfield in South America from which the attack will be launched. Washington is made aware of Code Orange by British Intelligence in 1938.
In 1936, Eric Klaus is recalled to active duty in the Luftwaffe. Klaus, an outspoken critic of Hitler and the Third Reich, is astonished to find that he has been rescued from the Gestapo to play an important role in a German operation in South America. His assignment is to secure a partnership in an airline owned by Hiram Jacobson, a German emigrant who is a Jew. The purpose this airline is to distract the attention of US Naval Intelligence from Germany’s more sinister ambitions in the area.
Berlin hypothesized that two German nationals, one a Jew and the other whose late wife was Jewish, running an airline using German aircraft flown by German pilots will make the Americans very suspicious when they see a JU-52 fly over the Panama Canal?
The operation of the airline must be completely legitimate because it will be closely scrutinized by the Americans. They will be looking for something where, in reality, there is nothing to find.
In late 1936, Eric Klaus, posing as a German business man, arrives in Barranquilla, Colombia with three completely refurbished Junkers JU-52/3M Tri-Motor transports. In addition to the three JU-52s, he brings with him a supply of spare parts and a sizeable bank account for operating capital. He is accompanied by four pilots and five mechanics. Klaus is quickly succeeds in his negations. The new airline, Compania Nacional Colombo de Aviacion, (CNCA) begins operation in the spring of 1937.
By 1940, Naval Intelligence has become suspicious of CNCA and wants to get an agent on the inside. They offer Zack Martin, an ex-Pan Am pilot whose license has been suspend, a job flying for CNCA. The catch is he will have to wait for CNCA to contact him.
Once hired, Zack is surprised that CNCA’s chief pilot, Chester Jackman is an American. Jackman, rather than becoming an ally, doesn’t like Zack and will do anything he can to make his life miserable .
Zack meets his contact, Suzie, a gorgeous Panama City prostitute on his arrival in South America. When Zack becomes romantically involved with Anna, Jacobson’s beautiful niece, Suzie warns him that she is probably a German agent.
Zack uncovers some questionable evidence that German bombers, painted in a patchwork quilt design, are being smuggled into French Guiana and then moved to some unknown location. When passing this information to Naval Intelligence, Zack learns that Suzie has been badly beaten and forced to reveal his ties to Naval Intelligence. Anna is also revealed as an American agent. She has been seized and is being held at the Dengler Mine in Venezuela. In a separate incident, Jackman’s plane has been sabotaged causing him to crash in the jungle. With his cover blown, Zack is ordered to return to Miami, but he disobeys the order. Despite the fact that Jackman has been nothing but a big pain-in-the-ass, Zack finds himself compelled to search for the chief pilot. He eventually finds him alive. Zack and Jackman, now allies, devise a plan to rescue Anna. When they get to the mine, they discover that the whole damn German air force is hidden there under camouflage nets. Before they can act, Zack is taken prisoner and handed over to a sadistic Gestapo officer. The officer deals with Zack first and then turns his lustful attention to Anna. Jackman is still free, but he is at a loss as to what he can do.
In late November of 1941 the British tell Washington that an attack on the Panama Canal is imminent. It is a historical fact that Germany did NOT bomb the Panama Canal on December 7, 1941. How was this calamity averted???