A powerful army of invasion—armed with the most ghastly modern weapons: bacteria, plagues, hideous diseases—lay carefully hidden within the borders of the United States, ready to strike at the heart of the nation, to kill, pillage, demolish… A foreign demagogue, mad-drunk with power, greed, and lust, planned the slaughter of a million helpless men and women, to sate his twisted, race-proud ambition. Belligerent nations watched and waited, sighting America helpless before them. One man—Operator 5—read the crimson writing on the wall—and he alone was left to battle the frightful odds!
“Invasion of the Dark Legions” is the seventh Operator 5 novel and was originally published in October 1934.
The enemy is Eurland, which appears to be Germany or a greater Europe centered on Germany. The names are Germanic, and its immediate enemy is France, who is building a string of underground forts throughout the Saar” at a cost of a $100M. This sounds much like the real-life Maginot Line, although the Saar was returned to Germany in 1935 following a plebiscite.
Eurland has planned well its invasion of the US. “Secret damage has been done to our Army posts and Naval vessels.” Important documents are being stolen, and American officials have been bribed. Naturalized Eurlanders are stealing guns apparently to prepare a war armory on American soil. The US is being hit with various plagues, such as Anthrax, botulism, and bubonic plague. The Sons of Eurland have more members in the US than all the police forces combined. And Purple-shirted troops are on their way from Europe!
Note: Eurland’s Purple Shirts might align it with the future Purple Invasion, but this cannot be seen fully yet. Remember that the Purple Shirt Peter Janover appeared three issues back in “The Melting Death,” but turned out to be a bit of a red herring for the diabolical evildoing of that story. Since Chancellor Ereck Shreck is the head of Eurland, and Emperor Maximillian was the head of Halkaria/Central Empire, perhaps there is not a simple overlap.
Could Eurland’s invasion have been successful? It is difficult to believe that it could have been even with a strong fifth column and plagues. The US had arguably the strongest military in the world since the civil war, and with the earlier invasions would have been organized for war. The buffering of the Atlantic Ocean would have made it difficult for a modern invasion to be at full strength given issues of a long-supply line. Such an invasion would undoubtedly have caused a lot of damage, but ultimately would not have been successful unless many more men and much more materiel were committed by the enemy. Eurland might potentially win a battle or two, but the US is a big country; Frederick Davis has underestimated the strength the US military.
As for Operator 5’s involvement, he seemed to have been everywhere organizing countermeasures, if not acting alone to do it himself. However, since this invasion is doomed to fail, the final thwarting of the invasion is a given.
Despite the improbability of Eurland’s victory, this was a very interesting and enjoyable story with a lot of appropriate, nonstop action from beginning to end. A good pulp read!