gerwin joined the waffen-ss in late 1939 but was transferred to the abwehr in 1940 (along with conrad von muller). in the summer of 1941 he infiltrated the the us 1st infantry division at fort devens. he accompanied the division to algeria during operation torch in november 1942 but his cover was blown when he inadvertantly gave a kamerad a waffen-ss belt buckle as a souvenir. however, the 1st Id had not yet encountered any ss units. he fled to france only to be re-assigned to "frundsberg" in july of 1943 after being removed from the abwehr for incompetence. he arrived to find von muller also with 3. kompanie.