Re: The real stories from the world of espionage thread

The Umbrella Assassination

The Bulgarian dissident was attacked with a poisoned umbrella in London

Told by eye witnesses to the BBC: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p00p093l



Re: The real stories from the world of espionage thread

The story of the Soviet surveilance space station that actually had a machine cannon! Moonraker gets a mention  ajb007/bond

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXRAsxH … 1&t=0s



Re: The real stories from the world of espionage thread

The Germans also thought about mirrors in Space. At first it was envisioned to light up dark areas of of Earth, but during the war it was suggested using the mirror to burn ships at sea or entire cities. Does it sound familiar?




Re: The real stories from the world of espionage thread

Unit 29155 - a modern day SMERSH?


According to an article in The New York Times, Russia's military inteligence service GRU has a unit that specializes in subversion, sabotage, assassinations and generally destabilising Europe. The unit employs combat veterans from Russias more or less secret wars and  is called Unit 29155. (it's behind a paywall: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/08/worl … -gru.html) If you, like me, aren't a regular reader of NYT you can read the article on the unit in The Independent: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/worl … 48536.html

Here is the begining of the article:

First came a destabilisation campaign in Moldova, followed by the poisoning of an arms dealer in Bulgaria and then a thwarted coup in Montenegro. Last year, there was an attempt to assassinate a former Russian spy in Britain using a nerve agent. Though the operations bore the fingerprints of Russia’s intelligence services, authorities initially saw them as isolated, unconnected attacks.
Western security officials have now concluded that these operations, and potentially many others, are part of a coordinated and ongoing campaign to destabilise Europe, executed by an elite unit inside the Russian intelligence system skilled in subversion, sabotage and assassination.

The group, known as Unit 29155, has operated for at least a decade, yet Western officials only recently discovered it. Intelligence officials in four Western countries say it is unclear how often the unit is mobilised and warn that it is impossible to know when and where its operatives will strike.

The GRU emblem


Last edited by Number24 (21st Oct 2019 19:52)


Re: The real stories from the world of espionage thread

Gangster, secret agent, murderer and the king's friend.


Norwegian Special Operations Executive (SOE) agents were usually young men from good family backgrounds. Johannes Andersen was different. He was born in 1898 in Oslo in a poor family. His father was often away at work. His mother suffered from physical and mental illness and took refuge in religion. When she discovered Johannes was swearing, playing poker and perhaps stealing offerings in the church she sent him to a youth correction center to «drive the devil out of him».
Johannes spent most of his childhood and youth in orphanages and youth correction centers, a very unhappy experience. He called it "pre-school for prison". Conditions were harsh. He was sent to Bastøy island in the Oslo fjord. People who have seen Michael Moore's «Where to invade next» know the place as perhaps the most humane prison in the world, but back then it was one of the most brutal youth correctional facilities in the country. They called it Devil's Island.


When one of the boys broke the rules he was punished by having to stand naked in the hallway all night.  The hallway was unheated and the temperature outside was -25 celsius, -13 Fahrenheit. The boy cought tuberculosis and died within a few days. One of the few things Johannes had to look forward to was the packages his mother sent him. The packages  contained white cheese, a favourite of his. In eastern Norway they call white cheese "Gulost" ("Yellow cheese") so his friends called him "Gulosten". The name stuck and he was known as Gulosten the rest of his life. It was while he was at Bastøy he was called to the director's office who bluntly told the boy: «Your mother died a week ago and was buried two days ago.» Johannes reacted by trashing the office. He was placed in the dark cellar and told he wouldn't get any food until he said sorry. Johannes was burning with sorrow and rage, and after a week the director  had to give in and give Gulosten food and a bed.

A typical smuggler's boat from the time of the prohibition


"Gulosten" still on the run!"


Johannes Andersen was twenty uears old in 1918 when the sale of strong alcohol was outlawed. He became a smuggler and ran fast boats from Germany to Norway filled with booze and sometimes cocaine. The price of alcohol in Norway could be twenty times the cost of buying it in Germany, so they made a lot of money. Johannes got caught several times, but his reputation grew among criminals and in the press. When prohibition ended in 1923 he became a burglar. Gulosten took many chances, made money, got caught and broke out again. He became a celebrity criminal and the headline "Gulosten escapes again!" was often used. One he escaped from the courtroom because everyone focused on the judge reading his sentence!
In 1936 he met Ruth Johanne Nilsen and married her. Ruth was the great love of his life.

In 1940 Germany invaded Norway. The resistance contacted Johannes early on because of his experience in smuggling and hiding from the police. He said yes, and again he was willing to take risks. Once he stole classified papers by turning up at the police station and claiming he was the messenger. The police chief put the documents in his hands with the words "Take care, those are important papers!" In spite of this work people started gossiping that Johannes Andersen was a nazi. This rumour really got to him, so much that he put an advert in a nazi newspaper saying that he was «a sinner, but not a nazi!"

In 1941 the Gestapo found illegal newspapers and a pistol in his carpenter's shop. Raymond Colberg, a fellow smuggler from the prohibition had turned informant and betrayed Andersen. Gulosten got several of his teeth knocked out during the «interrogation» before spending year in prison in Germany.
When he was released from prison Gulosten had the Gestapo after him, so it was decided he had to be evacuated to Sweden. But the resistance had decided Colberg was too dangerous to live, and Andersen was the obvious person to assassinate Colberg.
Gulosten asked his attorney,of all people, to get him a gun. The attorney had a Colt 45 that had belonged to the famous polar explorer, scientist, diplomat, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Fridtjof Nansen.(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fridtjof_Nansen). The gun was handed in over to the career criminal by the  wife of one of Oslo's best known attorneys in a dark street

Reenactment of the  assassination of Raymond Colberg


Ruth lured the informant into a trap and Gulosten shot him. The resistance leadership criticised him for not pulling the teeth and gutting the corpse to avoid identification and make sure it sank in the fjord, as if they spoke from experience. But this was actually the first ever assassination the resistance ordered, sources don't list any other assassinations until the next year. Now Johannes Andersen had to flee the country. He escaped to Sweden and was allowed to jump the queue to get a seat on the very sought-after Stockholm-London flights. In the UK he joined Company Linge, the main Norwegian SOE unit. While most Linge-men were in their twenties or even younger, Andersen was 44 years old. He was noticed for his age as well as his reputation as a notorious criminal, some of his fellow agents didn't even know his name and just called him Gulosten for the rest of the war.

Again his criminal background became an asset. After the training was over Andersen parachuted back into Norway with three other agents. Operation Bittern was meant to help train and equip a resistance group, but mainly it was an assassination squad. Gulosten was meant to be the main hit man because of his background and ruthlessness. Andersen was given a list of 62 targets. The Bittern team was also given some unusual equipment including morphine syringes, fifteen bottles of poison, three boxes filled with rags soaked in ether, eight poisonous pills, a burglary kit and handcuffs. There is some controversy about the Bettern operastion. The 62 names on the hit list were cleared by SOE, but not by the resistance in occupied Norway. The list included informers and torturers, but also famous nazis such as members of Quisling's "cabinet". The resistance felt killing some of those people would lead to brutal reprisals against the civilian population. There is some controversy on how many on that list, if any at all, were actually killed.  A few years ago I was at a birthday party and I made conversation with the woman sitting next to me. I don't remember how the topic came up, but she told me Gulosten assassinated her grandfather, dismembered him and threw the body parts in the river. Strange table talk, I know.

Missions were hightly prized among Company Linge members.  Most of the time they trained and presented plans for possible missions to the SOE leadership only to be rejected, so many were envious of the old celebrity criminal who got a job in Norway right after basic training. There was also a conflict of interest between SOE and the Norwegian resistance.  The SOE was created to, in Churchill's words, "set Europe ablaze". The resistance wanted to gather intelligence and build an underground army to be ready for when the Germans surrendered or they had to be thrown out by the allies. The resistance really didn't like assassinations and sabotage bombings that lead to a backlash against them or  even executions of civilian hostages. As a result of this Operation Bittern was canceled and Andersen had to return to Britain.

In the article in this link you can see the first page of the report written about Operation Bittern. "Finally, they were to likvidate several prominent Quislings and retire to Sweden":

There he made a new and unlkely friend, the  exiled Norwegian King Håkon VII. The king liked to meet people who were different, and Gulosten was about as different you could get from the king's normal circle. Johannes Andersen had been a die hard monarchist since when he was just seven years old and his father took him to see the the royal family arrive for the first time to the recently independent Norway. This was one of the few happy childhood memories he had of  his father.

Gulosten didn't settle in company Linge and was moved to the exiled Norwegian Navy's motor torpedo boat (MTB) unit on Shetland. MTBs were small, fast boats armed to the teeth with torpedoes.
Their job was to cross the North Sea at night, hide under a camouflage net next to an island and scout for enemy ships from land. Torpedoes were used to sink the enemy ship and sometimes survivors were killed with a machine gun, something Andersen disliked. Then the MTB had to find somewhere else along the coast to hide or return to Britain. Mine fields were sometimes crossed by going full speed  Ahead right through them and hoping the boat was past them by the time the mine exploded or the MTB simply jumped over the mines. This was a fast-packed  and rough service that fitted Andersen well.  During his service on the MTB Gulosten got word that his wife Ruth had been arrested for her part in the assassination of the informant back in 1942. Ruth had been tortured to death by the Germans.


MTB crewmen on the  lookout for German ships to sink.


Andersen behind a gun on the MTB.


Two MTBs hiding under camouflage nets somewhere on the Norwegian coast.


After the war ended the Norwegian forces in Britain were tasked with demobilizing the German forces in Norway. The crew of his MTB were ordered to a small village on the west coast to guard the German POWs there. One evening Gulosten got drunk and barged into a room where German officers were held. He started yelling at them, clearly agitated after five years of war and particularly the brutal murder of his wife. Gulosten ended up killing two officers with his submachine gun. Naturally he was arrested for killing prisoners, but in spite of strong evidence he wasn't charged. Why was he released? Gulosten was a man with many dark secrets, including assassinations ordered by Norwegian authorities. He also got backing from the royal family. They couldn't interfere officially, but Queen Maud's lady-in-waiting sent a letter to Gulosten's lawyer.

After his release he lived a quiet life as a carpenter. Gulosten was invited to the castle many times, he was on King Haalon's Christmas gift list and he was asked to make several pieces of furniture for his majesty. Johannes Andersen died in 1970.

The aging Johannes Andersen reading his biography in front of a portrait of King Haakon.


Last edited by Number24 (15th Nov 2019 18:54)


Re: The real stories from the world of espionage thread

Great read, thank you. It is the unusual men that thrive in the unusual times.

"I mean, she almost kills bond...with her ass."
-Mr Arlington Beech


Re: The real stories from the world of espionage thread

That 's true.
I've wondered if the woman I spoke to was the grandaughter of Raymond Colberg? I don't remember her name and I didn't know the story in any detail at the time, but she was roughtly the right age. The resistance's comment's about cutting the body up could have merged into family legend and the fjord could have merged into a river in the same way.


Re: The real stories from the world of espionage thread

That was very engrossing, N24. Thanks!


Re: The real stories from the world of espionage thread

Thanks. I didn't even know there were gangsters in Norway at that time before I started reading about him.

Last edited by Number24 (2nd Nov 2019 12:51)


Re: The real stories from the world of espionage thread

A very good documentary about the Special Operations Executive in France during WWII:




Re: The real stories from the world of espionage thread

"Blind man's bluff" - a documentary about submarines and espionage during the cold war.

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=re … ORM=VRDGAR



Re: The real stories from the world of espionage thread

Ben Macintyre's documentaries  (and the books they are based on) are always brilliant. This time it's about MI5's double-cross system and their involvement in D-Day.

Video: https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=re … ORM=VDRVRV



Re: The real stories from the world of espionage thread

Return to the Reich

This is a exciting podcast is about a Frederick Mayer. He was a German Jew who escaped the Holcaust, became a agent in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), jumped into the mountains of Alps, organized a spy ring in nazi Austria, infiltrated an officers club and even sabotaged German jet fighter planes.

Podcast: https://www.spymuseum.org/multimedia/sp … lichtblau/

Here is 11 minutes from a documentary "The real Inglorious Basterds". Mayer died the day after he was interviewed:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_cont … e=emb_logo

More from the documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_cont … e=emb_logo

His story has more than a touch of Where Eagles Dare to it:



Almost lmost singlehandidly Fred Mayer made the overwhelmingly nazi city Innsbruck surrender to the Americans:


Last edited by Number24 (13th Nov 2019 18:54)


Re: The real stories from the world of espionage thread

Really interesting N24. Thanks for posting. (And you even managed to slip in a picture of Ingrid ajb007/heart )

"Any of the opposition around..?"


Re: The real stories from the world of espionage thread

I'm listening to a podcast about Arne Treholdt, a Norwegian politician and diplomat who was arrested for spying for the Soviet Union and Iraq in 1984. A former KGB agent rates Arne Treholt as one of the top ten KGB informants in the West at the time.
This is a photo of Treholt (to the left) and two senior KGB taken in Wienna in 1983. After his arrest Treholt threw up when he was presented with this evidence.


The photo was taken by a male and a female Norwegian agent who had a camera in the baby carriage. How on earth did Treholt and two experienced agents not see the gigant hole in the carriage? Spy tec has really developed since the early 1980's  ajb007/lol


Last edited by Number24 (16th Nov 2019 17:43)


Re: The real stories from the world of espionage thread

U-864 and Operation Ceasar

(I posted this story years ago, but I think it's a good idea to gather up these stories in one thread. That way it's easier to find them)

I would like to tell a remarkable story from WWII. Near the end of the war nazi Germany sent the submarine U 864 to Japan. The cargo was very special: more than 6o tons of murcury for making  explosives, prototypes and engineering drawings for the  revolutionary German jet fighter Me-262, German and Japanese experts (on jet engines, torpedoes and fuel) and possibly uranium. The mission was called Operation Ceasar and was top secret.


U-864 needed to follow the Norwegian coastline north and then cross the North Sea and slip into the Atlantic north of Scotland.
The u-boat had to change snorkles in Horten in Norway and had an accident near Bergen, forcing the submarine to use the radio. The radio communications were sendt using the Ultra codes not knowing the allies could read them. In Bergen the U-864 was repaired in the huge u-boat dry-docks with room for nine submarines. British bombers attacked the dry docks during that time and U-864 was mildly damaged.



By the time U-864 left Bergen the Royal Navy was hunting for it. On the 9th of February 1945, just off the coast, the British sub "HMS Venturer" discovered U-864 because it heard the noice of U-864 engine because it wasn't completely repaired. After a tense battle HMS Venturer managed to sink the German sub. This was the only time during WWII a submerged submarine sunk another submerged submarine!

In 2003 local fishermen contacted the Norwegian navy and the wreckage of U-864 was found near the smal island community of Fedje. So far 4 kg of mercury is leaking into the ocean. The  1 875 steel bottles filled with mercury remain a danger to the environment and a worry to the local population. Fishing is forbidden in the area and there are plans to entomb the wreckage of U-864.

The remains of U-864:



Last edited by Number24 (Yesterday 17:43)


Re: The real stories from the world of espionage thread

Operation Odin

(I posted this story long ago, but I think it's a good idea to gather up these stories in one thread. That way it's easier to find them)

I just watched a documentary that might be of interest. A journalist (Morten Jentoft, we actually E-mailed a couple of years ago. I had some info for him regarding a different matter) was contacted by a Paul Smith. Smith is a very spry 90-year old with a story to tell. He had been a business man who was contacted by an army buddy from WWII. His friend turned out to work for the Secret Service of Norway, and he asked Smith to help him a bit. It was 1959 and Paul Smith and a man named Arild were asked to pose as tourists and drive to Finland to the USSR (stopping in Leningrad, Moscow and many other places) and then to Poland and DDR. The mission was named "Operation Odin". Smith was told to buy a Mercedes 180. The car was fitted with a hidden geiger counter, a device to monitor radio activity and other gadgets. They were told to follow a certain route and switch the gadgets on by turning the heating and cold air on at certain times and places.

Paul Smith waiting to get on the boat to Finland:

A guide from Intertourist  who had learned Danish at the University of Leningrad was assigned to them. Her name was Tamara and she was 23 years old. The Norwegians had been told to use the best hotels and restaurants, because the CIA would pay them back. In Moscow they visited the Bolshoj Theatre where the leader of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrutshchev was feet away from giving them a hand shake, but his bodyguards whisked him away at the last moment.

Many Russians were interested in the car:

Paul and Arvid got back to Norway, handed over the car and most of the photos and kept quiet.
Paul Smith broke silence to Morten Jentoft this year and the journalist took him back to Russia.
They met with Tamara. They had written letters to each other after his journey in 1959, but she had stopped writing him without any warning. In the documentary she revealed how the KGB had tried to force her to spy for them. She refused and the KGB banned her from any contact with Westerners in spite of her exellent Danish. Tamara never suspected the Norwegian "tourists" were spies. The journalist quipped: "You were like a Bond girl!" She laughed and nodded.

Paul and the Intertourist guide Tamara in 1959:

Tamara and Paul in 2018:


Re: The real stories from the world of espionage thread

Ian Fleming planned underwater sabotage in WWII?

(I posted this story long ago, but I think it's a good idea to gather up these stories in one thread. That way it's easier to find them)


Photos from the Måløy raid (Operation Archery)

Today I visited a museum dedicated to the Måløy raid (Operation Archery), Kompani Linge and the Shetland Gang (the two Norwegian Special Operations Executive units during WWII. For more info see the SOE thread). The museum was opened today by the crown prince and princess. Three former SOE agents were also there, but I didn't get there in time. The crowd would have prevented me from getting more than a glimpse anyway.
It's worth mentioning that the commandoes managed to captured documents and maps of all the German coastal fortifications in Europe and a Kriegsmarine Enigma machine during the Måløy raid on the 27th December 1941. One of the Commando units were tasked with capturing useful information. Even though Operation Archery pre-dates 30 Assault Unit this is straight up Ian Fleming's alley.

What should interest to many of you is that Ian Fleming featured in the exhibition. The museum claims he was he one of the planners of Operation Archery, and he also helped plan two SOE operations called Salamander.

Operation Salamander II
This was a British operation by the Special Operations Executive using a four-man party (F. Kayser, S. Synnes, A. Trønnes and K. Karlsen) to attack U-boats, depot ships and other vessels in the Måløy area of German-occupied Norway using four ‘Sleeping Beauty’ motorised submersible canoes to approach the targets and attach limpet mines (9/18 September 1944).
The party and its equipment were landed by submarine chaser on 9 September but returned on 18 September without achieving any success.

(Fredrik Kayser had earlier taken part in the Heavy Water sabotage in Vemork)


This is all very James Bond  ajb007/bond


There was of course a "Operation Salamander I" too.

Operation Salamander I
This was a British unrealised operation by the Special Operations Executive to use a four-man party, led by R. Ulstein, to attack shipping in the Nordgulen and Florø area of German-occupied Norway using four ‘Sleeping Beauty’ motorised submersible canoes (September 1944).
The operation was cancelled as a result of objections by the Special Intelligence Service that it would threaten the security of its station near Florø.

Ragnar Ulstein is still alive and took part in the opening of the Måløy Raid museum. He is essentially the official historian of the Norwegian Branch of SOE and he has written many books on the subject and WWII in general. There is probably no-one who's spoken to and interviewed more members of the resistance than this man.

Other than the info in the Måløy museum I haven't been able to tie Ian Fleming to this mission, but the idea of the creator of James Bond planning real underwater sabotage missions is exiting.

Ragnar Ulstein (99) talking about the Salamander mission to young navy special operations operators (MJK)



Re: The real stories from the world of espionage thread

Real-life inspirations for James Bond's second kill?

(I posted this story long ago, but I think it's a good idea to gather up these stories in one thread. That way it's easier to find them)

In Casino Royale Bond tells Vesper Lynd he got the 00-status after killing a Japanese in New York and a Norwegian double-agent in Stockholm. Ian Fleming knew more than most about covert ops during WWII. Is it possible this story was based on real events?

There is the case of Kai Holst. He was a regional commander in the Norwegian resistance before he had to escape to Sweden where he continued working for the resistance. Stockholm, like Zürich in Switzerland and Casablanca in Marocco, was full of spies working for all the major players. Kai Holst was very much involved in this. Was he "suicided" just after the war? At the time the Swedish inteligence agency C-byrån ("C-agency" , named after the first letter of the commanding officer's first name) and OSS (Office of Strategic Services, the US inteligence service during the war) were running an operation called "Claw" in Lillehammer, Norway. 35 German experts on signals inteligence were imprisoned in Lillehammer. These German inteligence officers had spent the war listening in on the soviets and now the Swedish and the Americans were planning to get them out so they could work for the West. At the same time Kai Holst was searching for German war criminals in POW camps in Norway in a joint operation between MI6 and Norwegian inteligence. One theory is that Holst was planning to go public about Operation Claw, so C-agency and OSS murdered him. People who later tried to find more about Kai holst's demise recived death-threats and Kai Holst's file in Säpo (Swedish police inteligence, their MI5) has mysteriously vanished. This looks a lot like what Fleming wrote about in CR, other than the fact that Kai Holst wasn't a double-agent.

The photo is restaging of Kai holst as he was found dead:


There is another case, and this time the victim really was a double agent. Instead of an embassy the Norwegian exile government in London had a Legation in Stockholm. On the 29th of July 1944 the Swede Claes Bertil Warholm was shot in the military office in the Norwegian Legation. The killers were Arthur Pevik and Odd Sørli, both Norwegian Special Operations Executive (SOE) agents. They had worked in nazi-occupied Norway, mostly with training guerillas. The victim Warholm probably worked as a secret agent for several of the sides in the war. For a period he worked in Trondheim in Norway for the resistance, but he was turned by the Gestapo. A short time after the resistance in the region around Trondheim was hit hard, with many members killed or arrested and tortured. An organisation called Sonderabteilung Lola "Special Unit Lola" , led by Oliver Rinnan (a man who could be a good model for a Bond villan) was behind it. Arthur Pevik's brother was arrested, horribly tortured and hanged in his cell. Family members of Odd Sørli were also arrested and tortured. Odd got away, but two members of Sonderabteilung Lola moved into the family home.

The two SOE-agents had lured Warholm to the Legation to get him on Norwegian territory, because a legation is like an embassy or consulate. It was probably not a sanctioned killing since Sørli later critizised Pevik for shooting. After killing Warholm they rolled him into a carpet and drove to the British Legation where the body was dumped. The British understood the Norwegians were behind the killing and asked them to sort out the mess. They sent Ida Lindebrække to make the body ready. She was the secretary at the SOE office at the Norwegian Legation. Her normal duties involved wining and dining agents returning agents from missions at the best restaurants in the city. When their R&R was over she issued them with suicide pils and other equipment before going to the next mission in occupied Norway. Sometimes she also handed the assassination orders from London. She was basically "Miss Moneypenny". After the war she married SOE-agent Max Manus (the movie "Man of War" is about him), and became known as "Tikken" Manus. Then someone drove the body outside the city and dumped it in a bog.

Both Sørlie and Pevik returned to Norway where they worked for the SOE for the rest of the war. Odd Sørli worked for the Oslo Gang, an outfit led by Gunnar "Number 24" Sønsteby and considered to be the best sabotage unit in Europe by the SOE. Rolf Larsen, Bond's target in "Forever and a day" was also described as a member of the group. The Oslo Gang were the personal bodyguard of crown prince Olav when he returned to Norway weeks after the war ended. The German soldiers were still armed, but Sørlie drowe the crown prince's car calmly in the welcoming parade. Odd Sørli led the group that shot Oliver Rinnan after he got the death penalty after the war. It wasn't Odd Sørli who asked for the job - he was leading the executioners on Rinnan's request.

SOE-agent Odd Sørli driving the crown prince's car during the freedom parade in 1945


SOE-agent Arthur Pevik, who shot Claes-Bertil Warholm


Ida Lindebrække/"Tikken" Manus


Oliver Rinnan (in the middle) while he was in prison after the war. The officer with his back to the camera is the SOE agent Tormod Morset. Morset's exact words to Rinnan when the photo was taken were: "Rinnan, you killed my brother". The entire Morset family had to escape from the Trondheim region over the mountain to Sweden after Rinnan's Sonderabteilung Lola exposed them as pathfinders for refugees across the border to Sweden. My father knew one of the younger brothers when they were both students. The younger brother was missing an arm after getting shot during the escape to Sweden.


The restaurant in Grand Hotel in Stockholm. This place was a favourite for diplomats, spies and SOE-agents during WWII.



Re: The real stories from the world of espionage thread

Double post

Last edited by Number24 (Yesterday 22:58)


Re: The real stories from the world of espionage thread

When Sean Connery went to Norway and saw a secret cold war arms cashe.

(I posted this story long ago, but I think it's a good idea to gather up these stories in one thread. That way it's easier to find them)


In 1974 Sean Connery was shooting the airplane hijack thriller "Ransom" in Norway. It was released as "the Terrorist" in the US. He played the anti-terror chief in the country "Scandinavia" and Ian McShane played the leader of the terrorists. Financing the movie had been difficult, but the Norwegian shipping magnate and business man Hans Otto Meyer (1925-2002) stepped in. At the time he had his own airplane company called Mey-Air and he could lend the production a Boeing 737. He also had a colourful past. He had been a navy officer working from London with covert operations during the war. In 1948 he joined the Military Inteligence and became the leader of their  Sixth Office to build a Norwegian Stay Behind organisation.


During the production the main cast and crew of the movie were invited to Meyer's villa. After dinner everyone was shown downstairs for the "entertainment". To everyone's surprise Meyer moved a wardrobe cupboard away from the wall. He then pressed two hidden buttons triggering a microwave mechanism that made the wall slide away revealing a bunker with an armoured door. It was marked "Danger - High voltage!". The door was protected by a surveilance camera and a hidden submachinegun that would fire automaticaly if someone tried to open without pressing the buttons first. The guests stepped into  the bunker and saw a large weapons storage. It contained weapons and ammunition enough for 100 men. Rifles, machine guns, SMG's, handguns, bazookas, granades, silenced guns and advanced communication equipment. According to McShane the shipping magnate told them: "We were caught napping in 1940 by the Germans. We won't be caught napping again! I have two tanks out in the country too..."
(he had several field guns on his private island, but tanks were never found.)


Here is a video of Ian McShane telling the story at AFI Life Achievement galla for Sean Connery in 2006:

The trailer for Ransom:

But that isn't the end of the story. Four years later,  in 1978, the police suspected Meyer had an illegal moonshine factory under his villa. Water containers marked "Norwegian Water Company" (one of Meyer's companies) had been found containing illegal booze. It was later found that a handyman on his island made some moonshine, but there was no factory and Meyer knew nothing about it. In recent years it has been revealed that rumours had reached the police that there was a weapons cache on his property, but we don't know their source.
The police did find moonshine on Meyer's property and he was arrested. By phone the police asked him where the secret room in his cellar was and he chose to tell them, fearing they would set off the trap and get shot by the submachine gun.
He told them he was involved in the secret service and asked them to phone his contact in military inteligence.
The police tried to find the contact, but he was away on holliday. It was obvious to the police that what was in the bunker was linked to the secret services and /or the military, but The Inteligence Service of the Defence denied any knowledge. The reply was that Meyer wasn't working for them and they knew nothing about the weapons in his bunker. Meyer was arrested and the whole story blew up in the press.

Part of what was found in the bunker:


As a result of this scandal the existence of the Stay Behind network in Norway was revealed to the public. During the cold war NATO and CIA set up secret armies in all NATO member states and some neutral counties such as Sweden and Austria. They were ment to fill the same role as the resistence movements of WWII  had in case of a Soviet occupation: Guerilla warfare, spying, sabotage, setting up networks to help pilots, governments, royal families escape to safety etc.

Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stay-behind

When Norway joined NATO in 1949 and the CIA wanted to set up a Stay Behind network here, they were surprised to hear that we already had such an organisation. His ships were used to photograph harbours and the coast in Warsaw Pact nations. According to the government the weapons were simply not moved from his villa when he quit. It took the government many years to admit this and Meyer became a bitter and scandalized man.


Last edited by Number24 (Yesterday 21:02)