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Operation Hellfire was, initially, a secret initiative by the London Controlling Section (LCS) to track down an elusive Nazi defector named Ernst Littmann during World War II. As it progressed, it quickly evolved into a mission to take down a cell of British fascists and occultists who possessed a powerful Gallifreyan artefact known as the Amulet of the Wastelands. The Third Doctor became involved at the behest of the Time Lords.
House arrest of Sir Davenport Finch Edit
In 1940, the British government passed the Treason Act, a piece of wartime legislation designed to deal with British subjects caught collaborating with the enemy. (AUDIO: The Survivor) This led to the arrest of outspoken fascists such as George Ratcliffe (PROSE: Remembrance of the Daleks) and Sir Oswald Mosley. (PROSE: Timewyrm: Exodus)
Sir Davenport Finch was another known Nazi sympathiser whom British Intelligence believed had lapsed into outright collaboration since the outbreak of the war. Although Winston Churchill advocated locking Finch up, it proved a sensitive issue given his family's high-standing in society. As a compromise, Finch was placed under house arrest in his manor house in Sussex where he was guarded by soldiers under the command of a British Army officer named Hegley.
However, Finch and Hegley knew each other from their days at school and the fascist was able to turn his guards to his own cause, taking back control of his manor with Hegley serving as his butler. Finch continued to perform occult rituals in his basement in an attempt to turn the tide of the war in Germany's favour. He was aided by his acquisition of the Amulet of the Wastelands and believed he would be joined by a "great wizard" known as "Ernst Littmann".
The Littmann Gambit Edit
The Littmann Gambit was a deception employed by Germany's equivalent of Britain's LCS. It led the British to believe that a man named Ernst Littmann, a Nazi occultist who held the ear of Adolf Hitler himself, had defected from Berlin to England, only to escape and disappear. Littmann was nothing more than a fabrication, but the gambit tricked both the LCS and Davenport's fascists. While the latter group awaited his arrival, the LCS attempted to lure him out of hiding using a fake Amulet.
An alternative method considered by the LCS involved retrieving the real Amulet from Finch and using that as bait. The process was delayed when the LCS was infiltrated by one of Finch's followers known as Daisy Chapel. Wing Commander Douglas Quilter suspected her of being a double agent but chose to wait for her to expose her allegiance before making a move against her.
The mission to locate Littmann was code-named "Operation Hellfire".
The Doctor's involvement Edit
The Third Doctor was recruited by the Time Lords while serving his exile in the 1970s. A Time Lady representing the Gallifreyan Conclave of Grails and Antiquities tasked him with returning the Amulet. He was also recruited at the behest of an older Douglas Quilter. Accompanied by Jo Grant, the Doctor was sent to the period of the Amulet's last known sighting on Earth in 1943. The younger Quilter invited the Doctor to join the Operation after his credentials were personally confirmed by Winston Churchill.
"Operation Hellfire is go" Edit
The Doctor and Jo assembled a plan with Quilter, Chapel and Churchill in the Cabinet War Rooms. The Doctor volunteered to infiltrate Finch's manor and retrieve the Amulet himself, a plan which received Churchill's ascent. Chapel drove the Doctor to Sussex and kidnapped him en route. Her betrayal confirmed Quilter's suspicions and he and Jo set off in pursuit. Although the Doctor briefly escaped, the Time Lady advised that he let himself be recaptured, as he was heading towards the manor anyway.
Finch, having fully-recruited Hegley to partake in his rituals, tried to sacrifice the Doctor to appease his dark master. Jo disrupted the proceedings by posing as an acolyte of Littmann. The deception created long enough of a delay for Churchill to receive a memorandum from British Intelligence confirming that Littmann was not a real person. The Doctor and Jo revealed this information to the fascists, shaking Finch's resolve.
Chapel kept an edge on the Doctor, Jo and Quilter by seizing the Amulet. However, infighting broke out among the fascists. Chapel turned on Finch and shot him, in retribution for the murder of Sally, a former evacuee working as one of his maids who stumbled onto one of his rituals; Chapel admonished Finch for not even trying to convert her to the cause. The Time Lady appeared, searching for the Amulet at the moment of Finch's death, but it was still in Chapel's possession.
Chapel tried to initiate her own plan: using an airship faced with a Union Flag, she would drop parcels of poisoned food to the many Britons experiencing rationing. Causing thousands of deaths, this would break Britain's morale and she would surrender to the Reich. Ultimately, the Doctor made his way aboard the airship and the Amulet influenced the crew to give up. Voicing her enduring loyalty to the Nazis, Chapel killed herself by throwing herself from the airship.
The Amulet was finally recovered by the Doctor while British troops sent by Churchill rounded up the remaining fascists in the manor, Hegley among them. With that, all the aims of Operation Hellfire were effectively accomplished.
Back in London, the Doctor received the congratulations of Churchill for his success and his thanks of for his help.
The Doctor was unwilling to return an artefact as powerful as the Amulet to the Time Lords. He therefore entrusted it to Quilter, who hid it in his sock drawer. While this displeased the Time Lady, the Doctor pointed out that he had accomplished all that was asked of him, primarily in preventing disruption to the timeline.
In the 1970s, Quilter, by now a novelist, invited the Doctor to one of his book-readings. It was at this meeting that he recommended the Doctor accept the mission from the Time Lords in order to preserve the timeline as Quilter had experienced it. Upon the Doctor's return, Quilter invited him and Jo out for a drink. (AUDIO: Operation: Hellfire)
The Time Lords later sent the Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith on another mission to the theatre of the war in Italy in 1944. Tasked with rescuing a valuable Raphael from Hermann Goering's Special Service Division, the Doctor put into effect Operation Stop Thief. (COMIC: Treasure Trail)