Topical Material

Included here:

1. Training

2. Weapons and Equipment

3. Medical

4. Post-War Germany

1. Training

[Anonymous.] SOE Secret Operations Manual. Boulder, CO: Paladin, 1993.

From publisher: "[T]his is the original manual used to train special agents dropped behind enemy lines in Nazi-occupied Europe. Used by the British SOE and its American counterpart, the OSS, it is an authentic reproduction of extraordinary historical significance obtained from a former clandestine services operative."

According to Surveillant 3.4/5, this is "most likely a retyped training syllabus that is most likely of U.S. as opposed to British origin. The vernacular and references ... are clearly of U.S. origin.... This is possibly an OSS Training Manual." Kruh, Cryptologia 18.1, also notes the presence of Americanisms in this publication, but seems willing to accept the publisher's explanation that, while of SOE origin, it was also used by the OSS. The operational "information is professional in its approach and provides sound advice for agents operating in hostile territory."

Cassidy, William L., ed. History of the Schools and Training Branch, Office of Strategic Services. San Francisco, CA: Kingfisher, 1983.

Chambers, John Whiteclay, II.

1. OSS Training in the National Parks and Service Abroad in World War II. Washington, DC: U.S. National Park Service, 2008. []

Laurie, Studies 53.4 (Dec. 2009), finds that this "is a much more comprehensive and detailed account of the OSS than the title implies. Indeed, it is one of the more extensive and well-researched histories to have appeared in several years.... [The] chapters on training are the strongest part of the study and a significant contribution to the existing scholarly literature.... [It] is highly recommended for general audiences.... Having the searchable manuscript online at the National Park Service Web site is an added bonus."

2. "Training for War and Espionage: Office of Strategic Services Training During World War II." Studies in Intelligence 54, no. 2 (Jun. 2010): 19-35.

Although the author's focus is the use of national parks as training grounds for the OSS, his discussion of OSS's training regime is much fuller than that alone. This article is, of course, only a portion of the broader history of OSS contain in his book done for the National Park Service (see above).

Conradi, Peter. "Camp X Spy School Gave Fleming Licence to Kill." Sunday Times (London), 13 Feb. 2000. []

Canadian film-maker Jeremy McCormack has produced a television documentary on Camp X, where British, U.S., and Canadian unconventional warfare training took place from 1939. See also, Hodgson, Inside-Camp X (1999); and Stafford, Camp X (1986).

Hodgson, Lynn-Philip. Inside-Camp X. Toronto: Blake Books, 1999.

This SOE training base on the Canadian side of Lake Ontario was used by the British in providing some initial training for OSS secret operatives. Hodgson maintains a Website devoted to Camp X, at Vintage photographs and excerpts from the book are included. See also, David Stafford, Camp X (1986) and Daniel P. King, "Trip to Camp X," Intelligencer 19.2 (Summer-Fall 2012): 27-30.

Stafford, David. Camp X: Canada's School for Secret Agents, 1941-45. Toronto: Lester and Oprey Dennys, 1986. Harmondsworth: Viking/Penguin, 1986. Camp X: SOE and the American Connection. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1986. New York: Pocket Books, 1988. [pb]

Clark comment: Stafford provides a scholarly account of this SOE training base on the Canadian side of Lake Ontario, which was used by the British in providing some initial training for OSS secret operatives. Charles, I&NS 15.2, finds Camp X to be a "well-researched account" of the secret training base. Stafford also "corrects much of the mythology surrounding British intelligence in the Americas promoted by Stevenson's A Man Called Intrepid." See also, Lynn-Philip Hodgson, Inside-Camp X (1999) and Daniel P. King, "Trip to Camp X," Intelligencer 19.2 (Summer-Fall 2012): 27-30.

U.S. Office of Strategic Services. Psychological Assessment Staff. Assessment of Men. New York: Rinehart, 1948.

For Hunt, Psychological Bulletin 45.5 (Sep. 1948), "the total impression of the OSS assessment program that one gets from the book is that it was instituted under an arbitrarily selected philosophy of assessment, conducted by individuals enthusiastically committed to this point of view, and sustained by faith rather than concrete evaluative data."


2. Weapons and Equipment

Brunner, John W.

1. The OSS Crossbows. Williamstown, NJ: Phillips, 1990. [Surveillant 1.5]

2. OSS Weapons. Williamstown, NJ: Phillips, 1994. 2005.

According to Surveillant 4.1, Brunner "conducted exhaustive research in recently declassified OSS files." This is a "beautifully produced work.... Highly recommended." Kruh, Cryptologia 19.3, notes that "[m]ost items are thoroughly described, often with a history, purpose, use, manufacturing details and other information." The book is both "a visual feast" and "an authoritative work"; it has "[a] comprehensive bibliography."

Announcing a new edition of this work, DKR, AFIO WIN 47-05 (5 Dec. 2005), comments that "Brunner's work is based on meticulous research.... The result is a book that is widely considered the definitive work on the subject." King, NIPQ 27.1 (Jan. 2011), notes that this "comprehensive book" includes a list of "the many museums" where OSS weapons and equipment "may be seen and sometimes examined."

Cornish, Paul. "Weapons and Equipment of the Special Operations Executive." In Special Operations Executive: A New Instrument of War, ed. Mark Seaman, 22-32. London: Routledge, 2005.

Fischer, Benjamin B. "Dirty Tricks and Deadly Devices: OSS, SOE, NDRC and the Development of Special Weapons and Equipment." Journal of Intelligence History 2, no. 1 (Summer 2002): 10-28. []

From abstract: "One of London's main objectives in lobbying for creation of an American counterpart intelligence and special operations service was to gain access to facilities, science and engineering, and financial resources that either were strained or were at risk in war-torn Britain.... The recent declassification of a key OSS record, the 'History of Division 19,' a unit of US National Defense Research Committee (NDRC) dedicated to developing 'miscellaneous weapons,' reveals [why] Anglo-American collaboration ... worked despite different national experiences and bureaucratic cultures.... [T]he OSS-SOE-NDRC triad brought British experience and research together with American private-sector resources to produce a symbiosis that endured despite strains on the Anglo-American relationship."

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

Lovell, Stanley P.

1. Deadly Gadgets of the OSS: When Uncle Sam Played Dirty in World War II. Bennington, VT: World War II Historical Society, 1996.

2. Of Spies and Strategems. Englewoord Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1963.

Clark comment: From 1942, Lovell headed the OSS Research and Development Branch, the unit which developed and invented the paraphernalia of special warfare. For Constantinides, this is "a chatty book that brings out information on some technical accomplishments and contains cameo shots of certain personalities, among them General Donovan."

Full text of Lovell's book is available at:

McLean, Donald B. The Spy's Workshop: America's Clandestine Weapons. Boulder, CO: Paladin Press, 1989.

Surveillant 1.1: "[S]py hardware ... began in WWII with the men of Division 19 of the National Defense Research Committee." McLean supplies an "inside look at the scientists who worked there and the special arsenal they created for the OSS."

Melton, H. Keith, with Foreword by William Colby. OSS Special Weapons and Equipment: Spy Devices of WWII. New York: Sterling Publishing, 1991. 1992. [pb]

Surveillant 1.5 calls this work a "meticulous historical account full of photographs." It is "based on an early OSS report," but Melton "has added a strong section" on other equipment. The book is "a visual feast." Phillips, IJI&C 6.2, notes that this is "not just a reprint of the original manual"; Melton "has included items used by clandestine agents of the other Allied services." OSS Special Weapons is a "delight to any student of weapons from the secret side of the war."

Moses, Morris G. "Secrets of a World War Matchbox Camera." Shutterbug 15, no. 7 (1986): 104, 110. [Petersen]

3. Medical

Clemente, Jonathan D. "OSS Medical Intelligence in the Mediterranean Theater: A Brief History." Journal of Intelligence History 2, no. 1 (Summer 2002). [ jih/previous.html]

From abstract: "The Office of Strategic Services (OSS) Medical Services Branch was formally established ... 26 January 1944. The fundamental responsibility of the Medical Services Branch was to provide medical care for Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and unvouchered funds personnel of OSS.... OSS medical personnel were in an unusual position to extend their activities beyond routine care by procuring medical and political intelligence, not readily attainable elsewhere."

4. Post-War Germany

Ruffner, Kevin Conley. "You Are Never Going to Be Able to Run an Intelligence Unit: SSU Confronts the Black Market in Berlin." Journal of Intelligence History 2, no 2 (Winter 2002). []

From abstract: "In September 1945,... the U.S. Army arrested two OSS officers as suspects in a black market ring.... [A] board of officers convened in Germany to examine the activities of Maj. Andrew Haensel and Capt. Gustave A. Mueller.  The board reviewed the convergence of intelligence and criminal activities in early post-war Berlin and heard testimony from a number of OSS officers." While the scandal in the the Secret Intelligence Section in Berlin "received little publicity after 1946, it foreshadowed the larger problem of the black market’s deleterious effects on intelligence collection at the dawn of the Cold War."

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