A flight of Luftwaffe transport planes carrying Lieutenant General Hans Graf von Sponeck and elements of his German 22nd Air Landing Division was winging over eastern Holland and approaching The Hague, the seat of the Netherlands government and the official residence of Queen Wilhelmina. The historic city lies on the southwestern coast, about three miles inland from the North Sea. It was the first day of the German invasion. Adolf Hitler had assigned a special mission to General von Sponeck. After he and his paratroopers had landed, they were to charge into The Hague and kidnap Wilhelmina. The Führer issued strict orders that “no harm be done to the queen.” At this stage of the war, Nazi Germany was playing a “correct” role. Hitler did not need a dead sixty-year-old queen on his hands. Sponeck was conspicuous among the paratroopers who landed with him. In anticipation of being “received” by Wilhelmina, the general was wearing a dress uniform, complete with a large array of decorations. His men were clad in combat garb. Even before the Wehrmacht charged into the Netherlands, the British secret service had learned of Hitler’s scheme to “take Queen Wilhelmina into protective custody.” The source of this electrifying intelligence was codenamed Franta, and he was a senior official in the Abwehr, Germany’s intelligence agency. For four years, Franta had been passing along Hitler’s top-secret plans to Major Josef Bartik, chief of the counterintelligence section of the Czech secret service. Bartik, in turn, had been shuttling this high-grade information to Major Harold L. Gibson, chief of the British secret service in Prague. After the German military juggernaut occupied Czechoslovakia in March 1939, Franta apparently established another secret contact to get his information to the British. It was the mysterious Franta (his true identity would never be known) who had warned of Hitler’s scheme to kidnap Wilhelmina. Consequently, even while General von Sponeck was having his boots shined for an anticipated audience with the queen, British secret service agents arranged to escort Wilhelmina to a waiting British destroyer that took her across the English Channel to Great Britain. In London, the queen set up a Dutch government-in-exile and continued the struggle against Nazi Germany.