Status Part I: 22 March 2019
Operation Salaam was an endeavour on behalf of the German Abwehr (German Military Intelligence Service sections I and II).
Concerning the latter: due to its complex task, it was (also) an endeavour on behalf of the Lehrregiment Brandenburg “ or z.b.V. 800”, which latter became known as Division Brandenburg (Brandenburg was its actual base).
My main sources are:
KV 2/1467 and KV 2/1468
Additionally combined with various R.S.S. reports, and, for this occasion, also implementing information derived from post-war publications; because you otherwise may not understand the context of what it all is about.
The KV 2/1467-68 file series are mainly containing the interrogation reports on Eppler and Sandstede over the period 1942 and beyond, among it also some Egyptian court sessions. Eppler had got contacts, among other people, with young Egyptian officers, opposing British occupation of their country, like: Anwar Sadat, the later murdered Egyptian President; but also the first post-war Egyptian President Nasser, albeit, in the post-war publications sometimes mentioned, though, we haven’t found traces on the latter in these files. But, quite many MI 5/MI 6 and S.I.M.E. files have been ‘weeded’ in post war times, therefore one is never certain whether as to what extent it once had been cleaned-up.
Eppler and Sandstede and all other implied, should be kept secret for the Egyptian authorities, as they may have had grounds to pull the legal handling out of British hands.
However, these files don’t make sense, as long as we do not understand the context by which this story commenced.
On the one hand, Operation Salaam, headed by László Almásy (1895), (der Ungar, as Hans von Steffens called him), was most successful, though, on the other hand Unternehmen Condor (Kondor) proved to be a failure.
But, this was not directly Eppler- and Sandstede’s fault!
Both men had been considered to operate for a few weeks only, because this was the lapse of time before the Germans thought to have reached Cairo; before their dash into the Middle East. The ultimate aim was to shake hands with the German Forces which were supposed to have pushed through the Russian Caucasus.
However, we should consider that it was Rommel’s ultimate decision which caused the blow.
Rommel had ordered that all troops, without exception, should proceed forward against Tobruk.
Consequently, this order implied - that also the Abwehr mobile wireless station “Schildkröte” with their two W/T operators: Ogfr. Waldemar Weber and Fw. Walter Aberle, within their “non-military” wireless car were captured:-
This kind of Abwehr (adaptation) converted an “Opel Admiral”* into a mobile wireless station, like once was “Schildkröte”. However, it once might have looked differently, but it must have been about like this concept.
The wooden cabin was an Abwehr ‘brew’ construction, as to substitute onto the cut-away rear car section.
Such kind of vehicles were often a nightmare for their operators (told me my good friend Rudolf Staritz (97)), as it could often not cope with the terrains of operation, like mud or soft sand.
* I suppose that, for example, a Ford V8 could have done the job too, as this type was built by Ford in Europe.
HW 13-52 on our page-number 11:
Quote: There is mention of special recce. (reconnaissance) cars, with a transmitting room at the rear.
We may consider that this is pointing just at similar vehicle construction; albeit that it was in no way a proper reconnaissance vehicle.
However, what should not have happened happened, of course: on 27 May 1942, near to Bir Hachein, a New Zealand group captured a strange vehicle. Inside, among wireless gear, they captured also two men and an English novel:
DEHS AS12 lecture
Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier
But issued in English language, 1941 version, which never appeared in Germany.
Following investigations proved, that (some) copies once had been obtained in Lisbon.
And, both Aberle and Weber weren’t speaking English fluently. This is at least what once had been recorded by others.
But, both men had been selected because they were originating from Palestine and they spoke arabic language fluently, wouldn’t they have learned English language as well; which was nevertheless the language of the ruling occupants?
However, you do not have to be too smart as to draw the conclusion that their capture was of particular interest for the Allied Services; opposing Rommel’s DAK.
On 24 May 1942, both Johann Eppler, the latter also legally possessing an Egyptian passport on the name of Houssein Gafaar (this was the name of the second husband of Eppler’s mother, and his colleague Gerd Sandstede (who lived for a considerable time in East Africa, like: Uganda and Kenya, he even spoke Swahili). However, Johann Eppler and his W/T operator Gerd Sandstede entered Egypt near Asyut (Assiut) and took the train to Cairo; where they arrived safely.
Therefore we may draw the conclusion, that transmissions were at least starting about same the time that Weber and Aberle had been captured (27 May) in the Libyan desert. Eppler and Sandstede arrived in Cairo, but first they had to establish themselves, which took, of course, some time.
I would like to invite you to consider what Wikipedia is providing on László Almásy and on Operation Salaam.
In German language: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ladislaus_Alm%C3%A1sy
In English language: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ladislaus_Alm%C3%A1sy
Salaam - Condor - Eppler - Sandstede Part Ia
To be continued in due course
By Arthur O. Bauer