British agents foiled a desperate German plot to monitor troop movements ahead of D-Day, capturing three spies and uncovering information about German codes, secret writing and sabotage, according to MI5 files released yesterday.
During the Second World War, Iceland became 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 were convinced that any naval assault on their forces would be launched from Iceland, MI5 files released yesterday by the National Archives in Kew show.
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 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.
They persuaded the hunter to guide them, borrowed a boat and in the early hours of the morning landed near where the men had been seen. They hiked across the snow, following the trail left by the spies until finally, at 6am, they spotted them.
They surrounded the men, who quickly confessed to being German soldiers but claimed they had been sent only to gather meteorological information.
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.