Weapons and Equipment

Anderson, Jim [LCDR/USNR (ret)], and Dirk A.D. Smith. "A Tale of Two Semi-Submersible Submarines." Studies in Intelligence 58, no. 4 (Dec. 2014): 31-41. []

Two boats one each "at CIA and Fall River are actually the same design." One vessel, "[c]ode-named 'GIMIK,'" was to be an "infiltration asset[] for a [OSS] clandestine operations program called Project NAPKO, devised and headed by Colonel Carl Eifler." The other boat, "CIA's SKIFF Semi-submersible," "came close to operational use on at least two occasions," in 1959.

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]

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