Biography[edit | edit source]
Nissen was a very experienced sailor, who had sailed around Cape Horn several times and belonged to the international guild of Cape Horniers. As an experienced yachtsman too he got in the focus of Germany's Abwehr. The ghost sailors were an asset of Abwehr chief Admiral Wilhelm Canaris. Experienced yachtsmen trained by his special forces, the Brandenburgers, sailed the northern and southern Atlantic in World War II.
Operation Lobster I[edit | edit source]
In June 1940 Nissen had been called to the Sabotage School at Brandenburg an der Havel to prepare for Operation Lobster I and asked to find a boat suitable for transporting three agents to Ireland. Nissen had served in World War I aboard the Imperial German Navy full rigged ship Melpomene. Melpomene had been captured by the Royal Navy 100 miles (160 km) west of the port of Queenstown, now Cobh, in County Cork. He was interned first at Templemore in Tipperary, then in Oldcastle, County Meath, and finally on the Isle of Man. Therefore, Nissen was familiar with this area. He selected the "Soizic", a luxurious 36-foot (11 m) yacht from the harbour in Brest Bay for the voyage. The boat was fitted out like a French fishing vessel and had previously belonged to the French military attaché in Berne. The mission was successful, but the agents were arrested in Ireland two hours after getting at shore.
Operation Seagull[edit | edit source]
Operation Lobster was followed by Operation Seagull (Ireland) in late summer 1940. Nissen's orders were to transport an NCO. from the Brandenburgers, Helmut Clissmann, and one Abwehr I. radio operator to the southern coast of Ireland to carry out their mission. The vessel chosen was the "Anni Braz-Bihen". Clissmann was stationed at Westende, Belgium in readiness for the operation. Nissen received his orders from his direct superior in the Regiment, Captain Hollman. The mission failed.
Operation Hawthorne[edit | edit source]
Operation Hawthorn, in German "Operation Weissdorn" was a piece of outstanding yachtmanship in those days. Lieutenant (S), S indicating "Special Leader", Christian Nissen, also known as Hein Mück brought the South African Boxer Robey Leibbrandt with a confiscated French sailboat Klyoe from St. Malo, France, down to South Africa and dropped him with a rubber dinghy at the coast northwest of Cape Town. Klyoe had a crew of six, including Heinrich Garbers, who later on became such a commander too. They performed a non-stop voyage of Template:Convert/nmi, which ended in Spanish Sahara, from where the took the plane to Rome and further on home to Berlin.