London, Sep.1 (ANI): British agents foiled a desperate German plot to monitor troop movements just days before D-Day, according to newly-released MI5 files on the Nazis.
During the Second World War, Iceland became tactically important for both sides and Germany sent a series of spies to gather weather information about the area to send back to the Luftwaffe.
But by May 1944 they had become convinced that any naval assault on their forces would be launched from Iceland, MI5 files released on Tuesday by the National Archives in Kew show.
According to The Telegraph, the Germans put together a hurried plan to send three spies to the country to monitor troop movements in a bid to foil Allied attempts to liberate France.
Three Allied forces agents, named Miller, Hoan and Frick, were having dinner in their hotel in Seydisfjordur, Iceland, on the evening of May 5, 1944, when they got wind of the scheme.
A seal hunter had spotted three strangers behaving suspiciously near Borgarfjordur.
The agents tried to alert an Allied ship anchored off the coast in that area but were told it could take hours before it got up enough steam to sail, by which time the men could be deep into the Icelandic wilderness.
So they persuaded the seal hunter to be their guide, borrowed a boat and in the early hours of the morning landed near where the men had been seen.
They hiked across the snow, through the night, following the faint trail left by the spies until finally, at 6 a.m. the following day, they spotted them.
Their report notes: "We cocked our pistols and quickened our pace."
They surrounded the men, who very quickly confessed to being German soldiers, but claimed they had been sent only to gather meteorological information.
Ernst Fresenius, an avowed Nazi loyalist, was in fact the only German. The other two men, Hjalti Bjornsson and Sigurdur Juliusson, were Icelanders who had been hired as mercenaries by the Nazi military.
They were frogmarched to a farmhouse two miles away where Miller and Frick kept them prisoner while Hoan went back to find the radio transmitter the men had hidden.
A search revealed that the men had 9,000 pounds of sterling, dollars and German marks on them.
It took six interrogation sessions back in UK to establish that the arrested men were in fact trained spies looking for information on troop and naval movements and ships in fjords.
All three were handed over to the American forces and their file ends with a report from the interrogation camp. (ANI)