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World War II Deception Story

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  • Ray Merriam
    Found online (blog): World War II Deception Story Great security story from an obituary of former OSS agent Roger Hall: One of his favorite OSS stories
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 30, 2008
      Found online (blog):

      World War II Deception Story
      Great security story from an obituary of former OSS agent Roger Hall:

      One of his favorite OSS stories involved a colleague sent to occupied France to destroy a seemingly impenetrable German tank at a key crossroads. The French resistance found that grenades were no use.
      The OSS man, fluent in German and dressed like a French peasant, walked up to the tank and yelled, "Mail!"

      The lid opened, and in went two grenades.

      Hall's book about his OSS days, You're Stepping on My Cloak and Dagger, is a must read.


      Various comments to the above included:

      The Germans have a centuries-old reputation for orderliness.

      An old joke: the French and German trenches are only a dozen yards apart. A German yells "Hey, Pierre!" Half the French soldiers stand up and are cut down by machine gun fire. Another German yells "Hey, Marcel!" and the other half stand up and die. The last surviving Frenchman (whose name has been lost to history) vows revenge, rigs the triggers of all the French machine guns with string and screams "HEY, FRITZ!" All of the germans stand up and say "sorry, we heff no Fritz here, can ve help you?"


      No... the way *I* heard the old joke was:

      For quite a while, the British had this routine where they'd shout "Hey, Fritz!" over the trenches - a German soldier named Fritz would stand up, say "Ja?" and so of course: *bang*.

      The Germans got a bit sick of this, so they hatched a counter-plan. They called out "Hey, Tommy!"

      No movement, but a reply was shouted back: "Is that you, Fritz?"

      "Ja!" *bang*.


      Ah, those were the days...when bad guys drove seemingly impenetrable tanks while good guys dressed as peasants and had to use their wits with improvised explosives. Funny how things change.


      Too bad the story seems as realistic as the Pierre, Fritz and Tommy story..

      Or were the Germans so good in logistics that their mail got delivered to their tanks by French peasants who speak perfect German (well, believable in eastern France), and who would be trusted to carry military mails.. Too hard to believe for me


      This exact same trick is (or was)regularly used for drug busts on houses/flats that have been steel-doored and generally fortified by dealers or growers. Dress up as a postie, bring a big box that requires the door to be opened to accept, and Bob's your uncle. I've done similar spoofs on TA exercises.

      I find this story pretty easy to beleive. Mail delivery in a combat zone can happen at any time of day or night, you can't hear very well inside a steel shell, and after six years of occupation I'm sure most Frenchmen could manage to pronounce one convincing word of German.


      The OSS and the SOE (eqiivalent British oganisation) were not spys.

      They were effectively terrorist organisations whose members were sent behind enemy lines to carry out illegal assasinations and sabotage operations.

      Those who were caught by the Germans were shot by firing squad in accordance with international law and all OSS/OSI operatives knew and acceptated this before they went on thier missions.

      Because they were our terrorists on our side fighting for a rightious cause it is polite to refer to them as spys.


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