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Special Interrogation Group

Discussion in 'Codes, Cyphers & Spies' started by GRW, Aug 2, 2011.

  1. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    "The Special Interrogation Group (SIG) was a short-lived unit comprised German-speaking Jewish volunteers from the British Mandate of Palestine as well as displaced Jews from Europe, primarily Eastern Europe. The SIG performed commando and sabotage operations against Axis forces in the Western Desert Campaign during World War II.
    SIG was the Brain-child of Herbert Cecil A. Buck, MC of the Punjabi Guards and Scots Guards. Buck was German linguist who at one time had been captured by the Germans and managed to escape back to Egypt by wearing a stolen uniform and speaking perfect German. With the inception of the unit, Buck became its commander.
    Several members of SIG had been with 51 Commando, a Commando Regiment raised in the Middle East. Other recruits came from the Free Czech Forces, the French Foreign Legion and other German-speaking Jewish troops. The primary mission of SIG was to infiltrate German Lines and perform acts of sabotage. Because they often operated in German Uniforms, they were considered spies and knew that if captured they faced certain death and probably torture. They normally operated in about platoon sized units or smaller. Some SIG members were dropped off by the LRDG. Many SIG members were not trusted by the LRDG or other British units fearing if caught, they would crack under pressure or worse, they were double agents for the Nazis."
    http://blindkat.hegewisch.net/lrdg/elite_british.html


    "The British Forces in the Second World War spawned many effective and daring "special" or unconventional units. Some were very well known, such as the Army Commandos, the SAS (Special Air Service), and the LRDG (Long Range Desert Group). But among the most ambitious and mysterious were the Jewish Commandos of the SIG.
    Charles Messenger (1) describes how Col Terence Airey - who ran G(R) Branch (formerly Military Intelligence Research at the War Office in London) wrote in March 1942 that part of the recently disbanded No 51 Middle East (Jewish) Commando - consisting of many German speaking Palestinian Jews - was to be formed into "a Special German Group as a sub-unit of M E Commando....... with the cover name'Special Interrogation Group', to be used for infiltration behind the German lines in the Western Desert, under 8th Army....the strength of the Special Group would be approximately that of a platoon". The letter (2) continued, " The personnel are fluent German linguists...mainly Palestinian (Jews) of German origin. Many of them have had war experience with 51 Commando.....it is essential they be provided with transport; a) one German Staff car b) Two 15cwt. Trucks". A second letter added, "...this issue (of transport) is of high operational importance". "
    http://www.memorialgrove.org.uk/specialidentificationgrouplionsofjudahhistory.htm

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Agreement
     
  2. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Thanks Historian, i'm wondering what tasks they performed that weren't performed by the LRDG or other Commando units...Even Australian infantry did this sort of thing...?
     
  3. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    According to that second link they performed sabotage and misinformation behind enemy lines, dressed in German uniforms; pretty much what the Germans later did in the Bulge.
    I only heard about them tonight for the first time in a history programme, so I'm planning to research them myself.
     
  4. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Tell us more, Gordon. Sounds fascinating. I wonder how efficient they were?
     
  5. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    Hard to tell, Lou. They were never a big force to start with. They successfully raided Martuba airfield, but the simultaneous attack on the Derna ones was a complete failure due to being betrayed by a German ex-PoW who had been taken along.
    I'll try to find out more.
     
  6. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Interesting. I never heard of them. See what else you can find about them.
     
  7. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    No worries. Got a few books on the SAS/LRDG that might have more.
     
  8. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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