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Spy Kit

Discussion in 'History of Britain during World War II' started by Jim, Nov 26, 2006.

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  1. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    The Allies' special agencies lavished fantastic ingenuity on equipment for clandestine work behind enemy lines.

    Spy Drop: A British Westland Lysander I aeroplane. This type of plane was adapted for landing special agents in occupied France and picking them up again at the end of their missions. They also helped to rescue escaped POWs.

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    It was no surprise to see a man or woman lugging a battered leather suitcase through the streets of Hitler's Europe. The occupied lands teemed with people on the move: conscripted workers, refugees, evacuees and many other innocent travellers. But among the dishevelled crowds were a few individuals with secrets to hide: foreign agents, for example, and escaped POWs hoping to pass unnoticed among all the shabbily dressed citizens. That ill-fitting coat might have been tailored from a blanket in a prisoner-of-war camp.

    Deadly quiet: The Welrod silent pistol, a one-shot, 7.65 mm weapon whose 12-inch silencer could be detached from the butt and hidden in a trouser-leg.

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    That leather suitcase might conceal a Mark II radio transmitter.
    The British SOE's operatives were trained at spy schools situated in various country houses scattered around Beaulieu, in the New Forest area of southern England. Here they learned how to pick a lock; memorise a cover story; set up a rendezvous; lose a 'tail'; write in code; and kill in silence. The agency also had its own tailors who made clothing styled for continental Europe, with foreign labels stitched into the linings. Before departure, agents were issued with lethal cyanide capsules, known as 'L pills', for optional use if there was a risk of torture.

    British servicemen were issued with documents that they could hand over if caught by the enemy.

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  2. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    Compasses were concealed in objects like cigarette lighters and buttons.
    Evasion equipment: (Below) Airmen were issued with silk maps that would not alert enemy ears by rustling.


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    Keeping in Contact: Cipher machines (Above) were used to produce messages in code, and microdot messages were smuggled across Europe.

    (Below) From cupboards and attics, radio operators nicknamed 'pianists' received and transmitted messages in morse code on radios that fitted into suitcases.


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    Jim New Member

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    Forged identity: False identity documents were essential for agents, stranded airmen and POWs on the run. Allied air crews carried passport photographs in case they needed forged papers.

    Candid Camera: Miniature cameras such as this tiny Rega Minox (shown here at its real size) could be concealed in the palm of the hand. They were developed for clandestine photography behind enemy lines.


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