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February 17, 2018, 08:28:27 pm *
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Author Topic: 'LUCKY' GETS LUCKY: THE NORMANDIE BURNS - 1942  (Read 24 times)
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PzLdr
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« on: February 09, 2018, 09:28:52 am »

It was one of, and one of the fastest luxury liners of the 30s. It was in the midst of being converted to a troopship, when fire broke out aboard her, and she capsized at the dock. It appeared the fire was accidentally started, but Naval Intelligence refused to rule out sabotage. NORMANDIE's loss was a bad break for the Allies. But for Charlie Luciano, it was a gift of the Gods.

After the NORMANDIE sinking, Naval Intelligence looked for a way to secure the docks from Axis infiltration and sabotage. In their efforts, they met with "Socks" Lanza, the Mafia overlord of the Brooklyn docks. Lanza, himself, was under indictment by the Feds, but he had a son in the service, and was a patriot to boot [no Sammy Gravano's "switching governments" for him].

So Lanza volunteered to help, and performed so creditably, that the Navy requested he do the same on the Manhattan docks. Lanza would have, if he could have, but as he told ONI, they'd have to go higher to pull that off. how high? All ther way up to Clinton Correctional in Dannemora, New York, right near the Canadian border. Which was the residence [for the next 30-50, minus time served] of one Charles 'Lucky' Luciano, the boss of New York's Mafia, and the Primus Inter Pares of American mob royalty. As Socks explained, only Charlie had the juice to do what the Navy wanted.

So with Lucky's lawyer, and Meyer Lansky, the ONI boys went to visit Charlie. And a deal with the devil was struck. First, Luciano was transferred to Great Meadows prison outside Albany. Then, it was agreed Lucky would be released and deported after the war for his services [Lucky would have preferred staying in America].

Luciano came through. No acts of sabotage would be allowed. He went one better, guaranteeing no work stoppages for any reason on the docks. Italian fishermen began reporting anything they saw to ONI. And prior to OPERATION HUSKY, the invasion of Sicily, those self same fisherman gave the Navy detailed tidal and other navigational information about Siciliy, as well as updated maps showing trails and roads on the island. Luciano also sent word to the Sicilian Mafia to cooperate with his American friends. They did.

Charlie Luciano was released and deported after the war. Except for a trip to Cuba, he lived the rest of his life there, dying of a massive heart attack at the Rome airport. But in death, he got his final wish. His body was allowed back in the United States for burial, with his family. Charlie Luciano rests in the family crypt, in Queens. And it all started with an ocean liner fire.   
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