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Incidents of neutral ships used for espionage/smuggling

Discussion in 'Information Requests' started by mihu, Apr 2, 2020.

  1. mihu

    mihu New Member

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    Hello everyone,

    I am looking for examples of neutrally-flagged vessels, of any size/occupation, being used for espionage or smuggling purposes on behalf of the Axis or Allies in any theatre of WW2.

    Two examples I am aware of:

    The Portuguese fishing support vessel Gil Eannes was used as a spy ship for the Axis via its radio operator, Gastao de Freitas Ferraz, who transmitted info to the Germans about Allied naval movement in the Atlantic during the runup to Operation Torch. Ferraz's activites were uncovered and he was arrested by the Royal Navy while at sea.

    In Portuguese Macau, there was a local smuggling ring that helped transship tungsten to occupied Hong Kong for the Japanese. The tungsten was sourced from the interior of China via a collaborationist Chinese business in Guangzhou, and the financing for the operation was carried out in Macau using HK dollars and Japanese military scrip.
     
  2. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    Every Swedish ship afloat was moving steel, machine tools, meds, chemicals for munitions, and any other war materiel you can think of to Germany. Those same ships were moving German troops and supplies to Sweden where the rail lines were put at their disposal to move all this to Finland and the Eastern Front. I think it was one of the great mistakes of the war not to bomb Swedish ports and sink every Swedish ship found on the high seas. By mid-war Sweden was the only source for many vital commodities needed by German industry.



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  3. mihu

    mihu New Member

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    Speaking of vital supplies and war materiel, it would be interesting to know if any of the Iberian tungsten trade with Germany was done by sea...
     
  4. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Sweden sold all possibile items incl smallboats etc to Germany and after Schweinfurt bombing sold enough missing items to Germans to recover the losses. The bombing losses you could say were 'huge but useless'.
     

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