The flight had been arranged by secret military cable. An elaborate code of flares and signal fires was agreed upon, and the US Army Air Force’s 52d Fighter Group staged a midair diversion over the Adriatic Sea. But these attempts at subterfuge were of little use. There was no disguising the drone of the American B-17 Flying Fortresses as they passed over Banská Bystrica, Slovakia, on the morning of September 17, 1944. The sound had become familiar since the United States had entered the Second World War almost three years earlier; it was inevitably followed by bombs.
On this day, though, the B-17s touched down on the dirt runway at Tri Duby airfield, miles behind German lines. Their cargo: six OSS agents, mission codenames DAWES and HOUSEBOAT. They were there to bring an end to the war.