Von Gotch was a Nazi spy that was active during World War II. By the fall of 1942, he had setup the Von Gotch Shipping Company in New York City as a front for his subversive activities. He and his loyal workers got jobs loading supply ships destined for Europe to help in the Allied war effort and loaded cargos in such a way that they would shift a few days out at sea. The sudden shift in weight then caused the ships to sink, without any sign of how it may have happened. After a number of these mysterious ship sinkings, the United States military sent an appeal to the Sub-Mariner to solve the mystery.

Von Gotch unknowingly hired the Sub-Mariner as a worker for his company after the Sub-Mariner linked the shipping company to all the ships sinking. When they were loading up the next ship, Namor pointed out that the way they were stacking the cargo put it at risk of shifting at sea and sinking the ship. Deciding that Namor knew too much, Von Gotch ordered his men to dispose of him. They overpowered the Sub-Mariner and knocked him out, then sealed him in a concrete sealed crate and dumped him into New York Harbor. Namor freed himself, but not before the ship was already out at sea but managed to save it with his quick swimming and super-strength.

Returning to the mainland, the Sub-Mariner revealed his true identity to Von Gotch and rounded the spy and his men up and turned them over to the authorities where he was apparently executed by firing squad.[1]

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