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Feb 20

The Feds Move In

Fifteen agents were selected, eleven of whom would fly, the other four were to drive. Once there, they joined forces with another group who had flown in from St. Paul. The leader of this group, Assistant Director Hugh Clegg, assumed overall command of the operation. Expecting to begin the raid at 4 a.m., it was learned from Voss's wife that Dillinger and the others had moved their departure up to that evening. The agents located five vehicles and drew up plans to surround the lodge. Three agents in bulletproof vests were to come through the front door while others took up positions around the lodge.

On the trip to the lodge, two of the cars broke down requiring some of the agents to ride on the running boards of the remaining cars in the extreme cold. Just before 8 p.m., they arrived at their destination and immediately blocked the driveway with two of the cars. They then began to move in on foot.

As they neared the lodge, they were suddenly confronted by barking dogs, which Voss had failed to warn them of. The agents rushed into position, thinking that those inside had been alerted. At just this moment, three of the visitors to the lodge headed to their car, while two of the lodge employees came outside to check on the barking. As the three men began backing their car out, the agents opened fire believing it was gang members getting away. One of the occupants of the car was killed instantly.

Hearing the gunfire outside, the gang quickly moved into place and opened fire, Nelson shooting from the cabin. Within moments, as previously planned, Dillinger, Van Meter and Hamilton, followed by Carroll went out the back of the lodge. They headed down to the adjacent lake and escaped to the north on foot. Nelson soon escaped, heading the opposite direction along the shore. While he headed south, the others soon located vehicles to steal, and got away.

Forcing his way into a nearby lodge owned by a man named Koerner, Nelson was holding the occupants hostage when Emil Wanatka and his brother-in-law arrived in front with the two employees from Little Bohemia. Nelson commandeered their vehicle and prepared to leave with Emil and Koerner as hostages, unaware that Koerner had already called the FBI when he noted Nelson's suspicious arrival.

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