TICOM Team 5 was an ad hoc team quickly formed to exploit the discovery of the missing archives of OKW/Chi. But for a stroke of luck the archives may have remained lost. In the last week of July, at Lake Schliersee, a soldier from the Third US Army drowned. While dragging for the body, officials snagged a box from the north end of the lake. Upon inspection, it turned out to be a waterproof box containing a number of translations of decoded messages and a file of correspondence addressed to OKW/Chi. TICOM, having already acted on Campaigne’s request for a dive team for the Schliersee, paired the recently returned Lieutenant Talbot-Ponsonby (who worked in the Naval Section in Hut 4) with US Army Lieutenant Alfred P. Fehl (a traffic analysis specialist who worked in SIXTA and Hut 3 at Bletchley Park) and quickly dispatched them as Team 5. Stopping in Paris for the usual round of clearances and discussions, they proceeded overland to the Schliersee, arriving on 8 August after reinforcing the team with Captain Richard Farricker from Signal Security Detachment ‘D’ and 1st Lieutenant Gene Silber, a SIGINT officer from Third Army.
Starting at the north end of the lake near the Schloss Freudenberg where the box was recovered, the team did an initial survey, finding the beach still littered with abandoned radios and teleprinters. Talbot-Ponsonby and Fehl then attempted dragging the lake near the landslide on the west side of the lake and nearly snagged an object several times, but it was too heavy to recover. While this was ongoing, a further inquiry launched into the whereabouts of Dr. Schaedel by the local Counterintelligence Corps detachment produced no results.
The next day the team, with the assistance of some engineers, took soundings and discovered that the depths in the target areas ranged from 20 to 50 feet. A more detailed survey by a Navy diving officer resulted in the recommendation that the job was within the capabilities of the Army pier divers from Le Have.
On 17 August, Talbot-Ponsonby returned to the U.K. leaving Fehl in charge of the operation. A week later, a small party of Army engineers arrived with pontoons and began building a raft for use in the diving operations. The leading group of the 1051st Construction and Repair Group, the pier divers, began to arrive on 2 September, with the rest of their party arriving with equipment a week later. Diving operations began on Tuesday, 11 September and lasted for a week. The first area worked was the site of the recovery of the original box, and although the murky water complicated diving operations, the site yielded 28 boxes, most found below the slope in 30 to 50 feet. It appeared that the materials had been hastily dumped from a boat. The second area explored, near the landslide, recovered seven boxes of discarded equipment from the local German SS artillery school, but produced no signal intelligence material.
The recovered boxes were transported to the Third Army Signals Intelligence Battalion at Camp Goulette where they were stored in a vault. There they were sorted, non-relevant equipment discarded, re-boxed, and sealed for transport. This resulted in 19 boxes, totaling 188 cubic feet and weighing 8162 pounds. No attempt was made to dry out the documents, instead TICOM wanted the materials moved to England as quickly as possible. Fehl arranged for an airlift, and on Friday, 5 October, two C-47s landed at Biggin Hill where trucks met them to carry the cargo to Bletchley Park. The search for the OKW/Chi archives was complete.
TICOM Team 5 personnel:
Lieutenant Eyelyn J. Talbot-Ponsonby, R.N.V.R.
1st Lieutenant Alfred P. Fehl, USA
Signal Security Detachment 'D', USFET
Captain Richard J. Farricker, USA
Signal Intelligence Bn., 3rd Army
1st Lieutenant Gene R. Silber, USA
Diving Team· supplied by 1051st Construction and Repair Group
1st Lieutenant Ted Leland, C.E., AUS
MSgt. Daves, CE, AUS
T/Sgt. Sonnengren, C.E., AUS
T/5 Cebula, C.E., A.U.S
T/5 Butler, C.E.. A.U. S.
Pfc Pugilise, C.E., A.U~S.
Drivers supplied by Signal Security Detachment ‘D’, USFET, & Signal Intelligence Bn I 3rd Army
T/4 Klotz,· Sig. C., AUS
Pfc. Campbell, Sig.C., AUS.
Pfc. Patton, Sig.C. AUS
Pvt. Jaynes, Sig.C., AUS
III. The Teams >