Re: The real stories from the world of espionage thread

Playing dirty - MI6 documentary.

This documentary is about black ops, for example assassinations. This is pretty controversial stuff i belive, so make of it what you want.

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



Re: The real stories from the world of espionage thread

Real life spies rate ten spy movies:

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


Re: The real stories from the world of espionage thread


In May 1961 an US Navy airplane discovered an abandoned Soviet drifting ice station on the North Pole ice cap. Drifting ice stations were Soviet research bases buildt on the ice in the Arctic, the stations were called NP for North Pole and numbered in order. Because the ice moves around they only last a couple of years. The Arctic was important during the cold war because both sides had nuclear submarines patroling under the ice where they were very hard to find. In case of war they could briefly go outside the ice cap, fire ballistic missiles and duck back under the ice again. This was a constant cat and mouse game. The NP 9 station had to evacuate because the ice had drifted and destroyed their airfield. The navy hoped important equipment had been left behind. They suspected the Soviets used acoustics to monitor US submarines under the ice just like they did, and getting their hands on the Soviet equipment would be very useful.

From "Ice station Zebra", an obvious movie reference for this story


Drift station NP 9 was far out of helicopter range, landing airplanes was no longer possible and the ice was far too thick for the station to be reached by icebreakers. They had to get inventive. During WWII the US and UK had developed a system called "skyhook" to retrieve agents behind enemy lines without landing. The agent wore a parachute harness and inflated a baloon on a line. A plane fitted with a special V-shaped yoke on the nose catches the line, yanks the agent from the ground and he is reeled in just in a few minutes. This is the method used by Bond and Domino to be picked up from the liferaft at the end of Thunderball.



The CIA called the operation COLDFEET and saw it as "a wonderful opportunity" to make use of the Fulton surface-to-air recovery system. They picked Major James Smith, USAF, was an experienced paratrooper and Russian linguist who had served on U.S. Drift Stations Alpha and Charlie and Lieutenant Leonard A. LeSchack, USNR, a former Antarctic geophysicist, had set up the surveillance systems before. Over  summer they trained parchuting and using the Fulton retrival system. Unfortunately the NP 9 drift station had drifted too far away by that time, but the NP 8 station was discovered abondoned in March 1962, close enough to Canadian airfields. Smith and LeShack were dropped by parachute on May 28 over drift station NP 8, now located on a floating ice island.

The map used by the pilots in Operation COLDFEET:


The two men found Soviet Union's Arctic research activities, including evidence of advanced research on acoustical systems to detect under-ice U.S. submarines and efforts to develop Arctic anti-submarine warfare techniques. The equipment, Smith and LeShack were picked up on June the 2nd by skyhook in three seperate lifts and returned to the US.


https://www.cia.gov/news-information/fe … dfeet.html

Last edited by Number24 (15th Nov 2019 19:16)


Re: The real stories from the world of espionage thread

Great read! Thanks for sharing N24  ajb007/martini


Re: The real stories from the world of espionage thread

Asbjørn Sunde - the most dangerous man in the resistance


Many believe the most active resistence groups were pro-British and pro-US. That wasn't the case in Norway and I suspect the same can be said about a number of countries. One of the most active was Asbjørn Sunde (1909-1985). He joined the merchant navy aged fifteen and later tried to join the navy as an NCO, but his unwillingness to obey the officers and his far left politics ended in him getting blacklisted. He became a communist and joined the communist party in 1932. He also became a good boxer and bought a Packard Cabriolet 1936 from lottery winnings, a very un-Norwegian and "capitalist" car.

Like many other communists back then he volunteered to fight i the Spanish civil war (1936-39). At first he was an ambulance driver, but later became a saboteur working behind enemy lines. His commander was Alexander Orlov, the NKVD rezident (station chief) in Spain. Most of us know the NKVD better under the cold war name KGB. Orlov was probably the model for the character "Felbing" in Ernest Hemingway's novel "For whom the bells tolls". Sunde's job was the same as the main character Robert Jordan, blowing up bridges and trains and other important targets. Orlov orchetrated the smugling of the Spanish national bank's gold to the Soviet Union when it the republicans lost the war with Franco, something Orlov was awarded the Order of Lenin for.  But when he was ordered to return to the USSR the purges of NKVD were in full force. Orlov knew that people who had been abroad and met foreigners were highly suspect in Stalin's Soviet Union, making himself a likely target for the purge. He decided to defect to the US and became an anti-communist.

From the movie "For whom the bells tolls"

Asbjørn Sunde returned to Norway, but remained in contact with the NKVD. He became the leader of the Oslo branch of the Wollweber Group, a NKVD organisation that sabotaged ships from fascist countries that visited harbours in Northern Europe. It was named after their leader, Ernst Wollweber, who later became the chief of the feared East German secret police Stasi. The Foreign inteligence branch (HVA) was headed in the same time period by Markus Wolf, who probably was the model for John le Carre's mysterious spymaster "Karla". The Wolweber organisation was dormant while nazi Germany and the USSR were "allies" 1939-41, but when Germany attacked the Soviet union in 41 they were re-activated and Sunde became the leader of the whole Norwegian branch.

The communists had a ready-made resistance organisation with several men with exeprience from Spain and the Wollweber Group.
That's why they could start an effective resistance before MILORG, the resistance organisation loyal to the Norwegian exile government in London. MILORG was also much more carefull, even hesitant in ordering sabotage attacks because nazis killed civilian hostages as reprisals for sabotage attacks. Sunde's group had the typical communist disregard for human life and carried out attacks regardless.

Asbjørn Sunde used the cover name "Osvald" and his unit became known as the Osvald Group. He trained new members in their bases in cabins in the forrests and mountains. Sunde himself later mentioned 39 sabotage missions his organisation was responsible for, and he took part personally in many of them. An SOE agent who worked in Norway assessed the total number to be around 200, making the Ovald Group the most active and successful sabotage unit by far in Norway during the war.


The group worked with MILORG, SOE and other resitance organisations.
Unlike the UK-backed MILORG, the Osvald Group hardly got any support from the USSR. It was hard to supply guns, explosives and other help from Soviet-held territory. Asbjørn Sunde's solutions were unconventional. They started robbing banks to get cash, always leaving behing reciepts with promises to return the money after the war. The group also assassinated key nazis for MILORG, in effect becoming assassins for money. After the war Sunde described one assassination where  he and a commerade broke in to a nazi's apartment while the record player was playing show tunes. He describes how his friend puked while Sunde stabbed the traitor.

"Osvald" became known as a very brave, but emotionally cold person. Once he took his wife and his little boy to a mountain lake to teach him to swim. To familiarize the child with being under water he held him under until he almost drowned time after time while his mother stood on the shore, screaming and pleading Asbjørn to stop. On another occation a group member returned to them after a a period in German captivity. Sunde felt the man looked too healthy, since the few group members who had returned alive from prison had been far more barely alive. He simply wasn't "tortured enough". Sunde decided the Gestapo must have managed to turned the man early in the "questioning" and he was now a double agent. Sunde's wife remembers her husband, the suspect and a third group member walking into the forrest. Later a shot was heard and Asbjørn and the other man returned without the torture victim. He had been executed.

In spite of the strict security measures their bases were discovered by German forces several times. The resistance fighters and their families had to shoot themselves free in small battles with dozens of fighters and machine guns on both sides. The Osvald Group suffered horrible losses during the war and many were tortured to death after being captured. In 1944 a deal was made between Britain and the  UK on one side and the Soviets on the other that Soviet controlled resistance groups in what became western Europe had to demobilise since the Western powers feared with good reason that these groups could be used by the USSR after the war against democratically elected governments. Asbjørn Sunde followed the orders from Moscow as usual.

After the war Asbjørn Sunde wrote the  book "Men in darkness". It's a good read, obviously written by a cold, brave and violent man. He didn't use the real names of anyone other than himself. The SOE agent Gunnar "Number 24" Sønsteby got him a job and he got a medal that everyone who contributed in the war effort got, but as the cold war became colder life got hard for Sunde and his fellow communist resistance fighters. They got little recognition for their sacrifises and bravery during the war. Jobs were hard to find and they felt they were under surveilance by the security sevice. They probably were under police surveilance. Aabjørn Sunde certainly was, and he knew it. He was far too exoerienced not to notice his "shadows" and he amused himself by shaking them off. Norwegian police was not  much of a challenge for a man used to dodging Gestapo for years. This was a bad move, since he acted suspiciously and the police susupected him of still working for the Soviets. He was the most obvious person in the country to be a Soviet spy, so many belived he couldn't be a spy for that very reason.

Asbjørn sitting nearest to the camera  at the  1954 espionage trial.

Sunde was arrested and charged with being a Soviet spy in 1954. The chief of the secret sevice was a former friend from the war. Asbjørn Bryhn had been a member of the organisation called A2, the police group to be exact. Sunde once borrowed uniforms from Bryhn and the police group to break a Osvald Group member from prison. The testemony of a KGB defector and other facts proves Sunde really spied for the Soviets , but not on a high level. It wasn't like he could get any Security clearances with his background. He stayed in prison for five years and then he was released for medical reasons. Asbjørn Sunde lived a quiet life until he died in 1985. He never came out of the darkeness.

Last edited by Number24 (4th Feb 2019 23:46)


Re: The real stories from the world of espionage thread

Russia's oldest secret agent turns 101, and he can still handle a Walther PPK!

https://www.fort-russ.com/2018/02/russi … turns-101/

Last edited by Number24 (23rd Jan 2019 20:48)


Re: The real stories from the world of espionage thread

The Lillehammer Affair - when Mossad killed the wrong man

The summer of 1973 a Moroccan-born waiter was killed in front of his pregnant wife in Lillehammer, a town in southern Norway best know for the 1994 Winter Olympics and the TV comedy "Lillyhammer".
Why did this happen? We have to go back to the year before. During the Olympics in Munich eleven Israeli athletes were held hostage and killed by members of the Palestinian terrorist organisation Black September. The Israeli government decided to retaliate and ordered the Mossad to kill the men involved in the Munich massacre. This was called Operation Bayonet or Wrath of God. This part of the story is shown in Steven Spielberg's movie "Munich"(2005), co-starring a little known British actor named Daniel Craig.

From the terror attack in Munich:


The Mossad followed a suspected member of Black September to Lillehammer where he was seen meeting another Arab. Some believe black September knew their courier was under surveilance and led the Mossad on a wild goose chase. The man the Israelis were led to was  Ahmed Bouchikhi, a Moroccan-born waiter and cook. Ahmed Bouchikhi was a saboteur in the Algerian war of independence against the French when he was 17 and lived in France for some years before he moved to Norway to get work. In 1973 he was married to Norwegian woman named Torill Larsen who was pregnant with his child.
But Mossad believed they had found Ali Hassan Salameh, the Black September Chief of Operations and likely the man behind the Munich Massacre. Slameh was known as The Red Prince, a good-looking and fashionably dressed womanizer. He had military training from Cairo and Moscow, was married to a former Miss Universe and later became founder of PLO's commando and special operations unit Force 17. Many belive he was under the protection of the CIA because he shielded American targets in Lebanon. In 1979 he was killed by a car bomb set off by a British-born Mossad agent know under the name "Erica Chambers".  The Red Prince's funeral ceremony was attended by Yasser Arafat and about 20,000 Palestinians.

But in 1973 the Mossad were convinced Bouchikhi was really Salameh. They sent an assassination squad of up to 15 people to Lillehammer. Two of them had just been recruited to Mossad because they knew Danish and Swedish, but they were not trained agents. No-one from the Wrath of God-teams had neve been caught and they figured Lillehammer would be an easy place to work, an inocent town far from conflicts and war. But Lillehammer in 1973 was a difficult place tp operate under the radar for just those reasons. People noticed cars not belonging in the neighbourhood, especially if someone just sat in parked cars for hours. People looked after each other and told the police if they saw anything strange. The agents also had darker skin than almost anyone in town. After being under surveilance for two days Ahmed Bouchikhi and Torill went to the cinema to see ""Where Eagles dare". After the movie they took the bus home. Just as the bus left, two men stepped out of a white Mazda and shouted "Hallo!". The couple turned to look and Bouchikhi was shot twelve times with the assassins' silenced pistols. The neighbour saw the whole thing.

A police reconstruction of the killing


Only four police officers were on duty that night, but they managed to put up check points quickly. Crime was low and the officers usually investigated break-ins and traffic violations. Drugs was a new problem, and the police assumed the murder was somehow linked to drugs. The police didn't catch the white Mazda, but a police officer noticed a beautiful woman in another white car staring at him, and he wrote down the registration number. A chain of  events caused by good police work, an alert public and inexperienced and perhaps cocky Mossad agents lead to the arrest of six of them.

An experienced police officer picked the Swedish-speaking woman for the first questioning, correctly guessing she would be easy to break. She told him she was a member of a Mossad surveilance team. This was possibly what she had been told and she actually believed it. The other agents soon confessed too. A safe house owned by the Israeli embassy was searched. The game was up. The woman who had caught the police officer's eye at the check point also got a lot of attention from the press. She claimed to be a photo journalist from Canada, but she turned out to be was Sylvia Raphael. Born in South Africa by non-Jewish parents Raphael had made Israel's cause her own. After her Mossad training she was clasified the  "combatant", the highest rank of agent and perhaps comparable to NoC (Non-official cover) agents in the CIA. She was elegant, charming, multi-lingual and later a legend among Mossad agents. During her questioning after Lillehammer she suddenly started speaking Norwegian with the distinctive Telemark dialect, a language she didn't know beforehand. It turned out her prison guard was from Telemark. That's how good her ear for languages was. One of the police officers who questioned her later called her "Jane Bond".


The trial got a lot of attention, but the agents only got short sentences. They didn't even serve their time, all six were released after about a year for "medical reasons". The fresh air outside of prison must have worked, all of them regained their health as soon as they returned to Israel. Perhaps it was because Israel still had a lot sympathy in Norway, perhaps it was because they weren't the trigger men. Sylvia Rahael got married to her lawyer Annæus Schjødt and moved to Israel with him. Some speculate the Norwegian Secret Service (POT) knew and aproved of the Mossad operation in Lillehammer. POT did know more than they let on. In the 1990's a document from 1973 was found in a POT safe. It linked Mike Harari to the murder in Lillehammer, something the regular police and the judge weren't told. Harari was the leader of the Wrath of God program.

Lillehammer was a major embarrasment for Mossad and israel. They had killed the wrong person and they got caught doing it. "Lillehammer" sounds like "bitter night" in Hebrew, and the Lillehammer affair is know as Bitter Night in Mossad. In 1994 the Norwegian government tried to broker a peace between the Palestinians in what is known as the Oslo Process. The Norwegian negotiators told the Israelis it was time to admit their guilt in the death of Ahmed Bouchikhi. Israel never officially admitted they were behind the murder, but the Israeli government did agree to pay compansation to his widow and his two children. In 2014 Mike Harari finally admited his role in the Lillehammer affair.

The victim Ahmed Bouchikhi


Last edited by Number24 (15th Nov 2019 19:24)


Re: The real stories from the world of espionage thread

Liutenant Alessandro Tandura - the first man to parachute behind enemy lines


Parchuting behind enemy lines has become one of the usual ways to infliltrate special forces and agents into enemy territory. But how many of you knew this technique was first used in world war one?

The first man in history to do this was Liutenant Alessandro Tandura, an Italian officer in the Arditi units. The Arditi ("The Daring") was a type of shock troops, the most elite formations in the Italian army and comparable to the stormtroops of Germany and Austria-Hungary. These troops were the forerunners of the commandos of WWII, but they were normally not parachute trained. Arditi often wore medival-style armour and used the dagger as a symbol of their aggressive style.


Alessandro Tandura jumped out of a bomber plane piloted by an RAF captain and an Canadian RAF observer. The paratrooper sat at the back of the plane, on a trapdoor that would be opened by the pilot and linked with a 4 m long rope to the parachute that was hanging under the wings. Parachutes and parachuting was in its infancy in WWI, but observers in balloons and airships and German pilots were issued them.




In the night between the 9th and 10th of August 1918 Luitenant Tandura jumped into the Veneto region in Northern Italy, at the time under Austro-Hungarian occupation. He spent three months behind enemy lines. He was taken prisoner twice, but escaped both times. He gathered inteligence and passed it back to Italian lines by carrier pigeons. He also contacted Italian officers stranded behind enemy lines and organised them into a resistance. Alessandro Tandura returned safely to Italian held territory and lived until 1937. Four more Arditi officers were dropped behind enemy lines before the war ended.


Last edited by Number24 (30th Jan 2019 17:00)


Re: The real stories from the world of espionage thread

Exceptionally interesting 24.

It was either that.....or the priesthood


Re: The real stories from the world of espionage thread

Thank you very much! Feedback is always apriciated, and you are very kind.  ajb007/smile

Here is a podcast about Diana Rowden who was an SOE agent in France in WWII:

https://player.fm/series/the-ww2-podcas … -soe-agent



Re: The real stories from the world of espionage thread

The same podcast channel also made an episode about female agents in the SOE:

http://ww2podcast.com/ww2-podcast/shado … s-and-soe/



Re: The real stories from the world of espionage thread

I'm pretty sure one of the members of AJB007 said his grandfather flew missions for SOE, but I can't for the life of me remember who. Sorry  ajb007/crap
But to make up for it I'm posting a podcast about Geoffrey Rothwell, the last of the pilots who flew SOE agents. Rothwell was the widower of SOE agent Diana Rowden who was the topic of an earlier post in this thread. He died at 97 in 2017, before the podcast was made. This is his orbituary; https://www.telegraph.co.uk/obituaries/ … -obituary/

Podcast: http://ww2podcast.com/ww2-podcast/last- … -rothwell/



Last edited by Number24 (1st Feb 2019 23:59)


Re: The real stories from the world of espionage thread

Nazi Germany tried to assassinate Josef Stalin in 1944 in what is called Operation Zeppelin. Since most sources are Soviet we mostly get the Russian version or point of view, but it's still a great story that even involves SMERSH:

https://espionagehistoryarchive.com/201 … ii-smersh/

The two intended assassins Petr Tavrin and Lidia Shilova.



Re: The real stories from the world of espionage thread

My grandfather on my mothers side flew Lysanders.  Which is partly why I collect SOE equipment and memorabilia.



Re: The real stories from the world of espionage thread

Please forgive my bad memory. I hope you enjoyed listening to the podcasts about Geoffrey Rothwell, then.  ajb007/smile


Re: The real stories from the world of espionage thread

Asp9mm wrote:

My grandfather on my mothers side flew Lysanders.  Which is partly why I collect SOE equipment and memorabilia.

My Grandfather on my Mother's side "met" Lysanders!, usually in the dead of night in muddy fields & if you didn't know the current code ....Bugger!  ajb007/amazed


Re: The real stories from the world of espionage thread

Please tell more about this!

I heard a story linked to "SOE Airways" in the first village I worked in. During the war there was a clandestine radio transmitter station. someone in the village informed on them to the Germans and both the agents and the family that supplied them with food and information had to be exfiltrated in a hurry. A seaplane came from the UK during the night and picked them up in such a hurry the youngest son in the family got his arm broken. The family came back from the UK after the war. Both the younger members of the family and the informant lived in the village when I was there, and everyone knew who the informant was.


Re: The real stories from the world of espionage thread

I wrote some stories in seperate threads that would fit here before I started this thread. I wonder, would it be good idea to gather them here? I really don't know.if anyone has an opinion, please post.

I'm sure I'm not the only member in this forum who knows good espionage and covert operations stories from the real world. A link to an article, video or podcast is fine. It's fun for everyone  ajb007/smile


Re: The real stories from the world of espionage thread

Number24 wrote:

Please tell more about this!

I heard a story linked to "SOE Airways" in the first village I worked in. During the war there was a clandestine radio transmitter station. someone in the village informed on them to the Germans and both the agents and the family that supplied them with food and information had to be exfiltrated in a hurry. A seaplane came from the UK during the night and picked them up in such a hurry the youngest son in the family got his arm broken. The family came back from the UK after the war. Both the younger members of the family and the informant lived in the village when I was there, and everyone knew who the informant was.

That's a difficult question to answer. My Grandfather did not like to speak about what he did during the war. Lysanders unlike conventional aircraft were able to touch down & more importantly take off again in small confined areas. My Grandfather said he would receive an instruction to meet an aircraft at a specific location at a specific time to collect a package. The package would identify itself by for example Polar Bear. If Polar Bear did not use that phrase ....Bang!  ajb007/frown


Re: The real stories from the world of espionage thread

It's sometimes easy to forget real humans lived those espinage stories we like to hear about. You have every reason to be proud of your grandfather.


Re: The real stories from the world of espionage thread

Both of my grandfathers and my father were the same.  It was a time of gentlemen when the OSA was something you took to your heart rather than just a contract.  I think many people don’t understand the danger involved at this time, they were literally living hour to hour on luck and nerve and operational security, most of which were out of their control. 

I’ve been pondering this for sometime since Donk and I first spoke of this.  It’s amazing to think that the possibility of our grandfathers meeting 60 years before we did.

Last edited by Asp9mm (9th Feb 2019 20:22)



Re: The real stories from the world of espionage thread

OSA -what is that?


Re: The real stories from the world of espionage thread

Number24 wrote:

OSA -what is that?

OSA is an abbreviation of the Official Secrets Act, or rather in this time period of the Second World War, a series of Acts passed in 1911, 1920 and 1939. They need to be read together as the 1920 and 1939 Acts amended the OSA 1911. There has since been an OSA 1989 as well. Those involved in secret intelligence work had to sign the Act and be bound by its provisions, and breaching the Act brought the sanction of criminal law.

Last edited by Silhouette Man (9th Feb 2019 21:12)

Writer/Director @ The Bondologist Blog (TBB)
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"The man who was only a silhouette." - Ian Fleming, Moonraker (1955).


Re: The real stories from the world of espionage thread

Ah … thank you.

ASP, I'm curious about what your grandfathers did during the war. What can you tell us?


Re: The real stories from the world of espionage thread

Englandspiel: The Deadly WW2 Spy Game

By BBC Witness History:

In 1942, a Dutch secret agent was captured by German military intelligence in the Netherlands. The agent's name was Haub Lauwers and he worked for the Special Operations Executive, a secret organisation set up by the British to wage a guerrilla war against the Nazis in Europe. So began, the Englandspiel, the England Game, a German counter-intelligence operation that led to the capture and deaths of dozens of Dutch agents.

The story is told by eyewitnesses who survived the war.
https://player.fm/series/witness-histor … 2-spy-game