World War II

The British Services

Special Operations Executive

Ku - Maq

Kurzman, Dan.

1. Blood and Water: Sabotaging Hitler's Bomb. New York: Holt, 1997.

Clark comment: This book recounts the destruction, by an SOE team of Norwegians, of a heavy water plant in Norway in February 1943 and a subsequent Norwegian operation in February 1944 that destroyed a large shipment of heavy water on the way to Germany.

Bernstein, NYT, 12 Feb. 1997, calls the author's scientific and strategic background to the story "frustratingly sketchy." However, the military side of the story is "an engrossing, even exciting" account of the efforts to destroy the Norsk Hydro heavy water plant and its product. Kurzman's narrative "blends operational details with portraits of individuals caught up in the war."

For Torgerson, Air Chronicles [http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil], the author "has done an exceptional job of tying together the disparate elements of what some World War II historians consider the most successful commando raid by the Allies against Nazi Germany."

2. "Sabotaging Hitler's Bomb." MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History 9, no. 2 (Winter 1997): 38-47.

For someone interested in the raid on Norsk Hydro but not to the level of wanting to read an entire book on the subject, Kurzman has done an excellent job of tracing the operation's main lines in this article.

Ladd, James D., Keith Melton, and Peter Mason. Clandestine Warfare: Weapons and Equipment of the SOE and OSS. London: Blandford, 1988.

Langelaan, George. Knights of the Floating Silk. London: Hutchinson, 1959. The Masks of War: From Dunkirk to D-Day -- The Masquerades of a British Intelligence Agent. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1959.

Lawther, Rebecca. Behind Enemy Lines. Barnsley, UK: Pen & Sword, 2010.

From publisher: "From its formation in 1940 and throughout the rest of the Second World War, SOE worked alongside other secret forces who were involved in raids such as the first Commando raids at Lofoten, and the raid on the Channel Islands."

LeChene, Evelyn. Watch for Me by Moonlight: A British Agent with the French Resistance. London: Methuen, 1973. London: Corgi, 1974. [pb] Bath, UK: Chivers, 1986.

Lees, Michael. The Rape of Serbia: The British Role in Tito's Grab for Power. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1990.

Surveillant 1.3: Lees was a "British liaison officer who, in 1943, was dropped into Yugoslavia to help resistance fighters led by General Draza Mihailovic. He witnessed the abandonment of Allied support for Mihailovic."

Lett, Brian. Ian Fleming and SOE's Operation Postmaster: The Untold Top Secret Story Behind 007. Barnsley, UK: Pen & Sword, 2012.

For Peake, Studies 57.2 (Jun. 2013), [t]he successful Operation Postmaster is a small but significant part of SOE history, and Lett tells that story well. The frequent allusions to James Bond are only distractions."

Lett, Brian. SAS in Tuscany 1943-45. Barnsley, UK: Pen & Sword, 2011.

From publisher: This work describes three SAS "operations in enemy-occupied Italy during the latter half " of World War II. The ill-supported SPEEDWELL 2 (September 1943) ended in disaster. GALIA (winter 1944-1945) "tied up many thousands of enemy troops for nearly two months under extreme winter conditions," working in coordination with "an SOE mission led by Major Gordon Lett, the author's father." BLIMEY (April 1945) was overtaken by the Allied advance.

Lett, Gordon. Rossano: An Adventure of the Italian Resistance. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1955. Rossano: Valley in Flames -- An Adventure of the Italian Resistance. Barnsley, UK: Frontline, 2011.

From publisher: "In July 1942, Major Gordon Lett was taken prisoner at the fall of Tobruk." He escaped from an Italian prison "at the Armistice of September 1943 ... and took to the mountains" where "he founded and led" a "band of highly-successful partisans, the Battaglione Internazionale. The group fought and harassed ... the Germans along the Magra valley from North of Pontremoli to La Spezia.... They were so influential to the success of the Allied advance that permanent lines of communication with the Allies were established, supplies dropped by air and, later, SAS troops sent in to assist the Brigade."

MacDonald, Callum. The Killing of SS Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich. New York: Free Press, 1989. The Killing of Reinhard Heydrich: The SS "Butcher of Prague." New York: Da Capo, 1998. [pb] The Assassination of Reinhard Heydrich. Edinburgh: Birlinn, 2007. [pb]

Surveillant 2.6 says that this telling of the story of the British-Czech operation to assassinate Heydrich is "well-handled."

Macintosh, Charles. From Cloak to Dagger: A SOE Agent in Italy, 1943-45. London: Kimber, 1982.

From Nigel Perrin, http://nigelperrin.com/soe-biographies.htm#.UWA183DR3Hg: "Macintosh was operations officer with No.1 Special Force in Italy and supported the partisans in the battle for Florence in August 1944. The remainder of the book follows the progress of later tactical missions and concentrates on operational detail."

Mackenzie, William J.M. Secret History of SOE: The Special Operations Executive, 1940-1945. London: St. Ermin's, 2000. New York: Little, Brown, 2002.

From publisher: "At the end of World War II, Britain's Cabinet Office commissioned ... William Mackenzie[] to undertake a comprehensive secret history of Special Operations Executive. Given access to both personnel and surviving wartime files, Mackenzie's report was be used by intelligence agencies in a future conflict.... [T]his highly classified document has been made available."

Neville Wylie, "Introduction: Special Operations Executive -- New Approaches and Perspectives," Intelligence and National Security 20, no.1 (Mar. 2005), notes that this work was written between 1945 and 1947. It is "a masterful account of SOE's war," although the author's "focus is ... a narrow one. His perspective is that of the headquarters staff..., not the agent in the field. He is slim on operational details, his narrative ventures only rarely into Africa and the Middle East and passes over SOE's activities in the Far East in complete silence."

Saul Kelly, "A Succession of Crises: SOE in the Middle East, 1940-45," Intelligence and National Security 20, no 1 (Mar. 2005), 143/fn. 1, recommends the "useful, recent bibliography" in M.R.D. Foot's foreword to this work.

Maclean, Fitzroy. Eastern Approaches. London: Jonathan Cape, 1949. London: Four Square Books, 1965. [pb]

For a biography of Maclean, see McLynn, Fitzroy Maclean (1992). However, Surveillant 2.6 says this biography "contains little on his intelligence experiences."

Macrae, Robert Stuart. Winston Churchill's Toyshop: The Invention and Making of England's Secret Weapons. New York: Walker, 1972. Winston Churchill's Toyshop: The Inside Story of Military Intelligence (Research). Rev. ed. Stroud, UK: Amberley; 2010. 2011. [pb]

From publisher: "Written by Colonel Stuart Macrae, who helped found M.D.1. and was its second-in-command throughout its life," this is "[t]he inside story of one of the most famous of all the 'back rooms' of the Second World War.... Conceived by Winston Churchill to circumvent the delays, frustrations and inefficiencies of the service ministries," Department M.D.1 produced "an astonishing array of secret weapons ranging from the 'sticky bomb' and 'limpet mine' to giant bridge-carrying assault tanks, as well as the PIAT, a tank-destroying, hand-held mortar."

Manderstam, L.H. [Maj.], with Roy Heron. From the Red Army to SOE. London: Kimber, 1985.

http://www.manderstam.com: Born in Riga, Manderstam "joined the Red Army as a teenager during the Revolution but became anti-Bolshevik." He later "emigrated to South Africa.... Recruited to SOE, he went to Angola. There he arranged the capture of a Vichy ship, sabotaged U-Boat fuel supplies and destroyed Nazi sisal stores. Sent to Portugal and Spain, he disrupted wolfram supplies to Germany. He was appointed head of SOE's Russian section."


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