Operation Marco Polo

(Venetian 14th century traveller to the Fast East)

This was a German largely unrealised plan for collaborative political and military ventures with Japan (1942/44).

An early step toward this objective was the passage of Kapitänleutnant Fritz Schneewind’s U-511, which departed Germany in April bound for Penang off the west coast of occupied Malaya for onward passage to Kure and transfer to Japanese control as a personal gift from Adolf Hitler to Emperor Hirohito. The boat reached Kure on 7 August, and after various ceremonies the boat’s crew returned to Penang by surface vessel as the boat was readied for later commissioning into the Imperial Japanese navy as Ro-500.