Real stories from the world of espionage and special operations

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  • 00730073 COPPosts: 1,007MI6 Agent


    This gets filed under "Nice try Bub!"

    "They are friendship towns, but when the priests from the Russian Orthodox Church wanted to learn more about the drinking water facilities, the Mayor of Kirkenes had to put a stop to it."

    https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/security/2022/10/orthodox-church-severomorsk-wanted-collaborate-drinking-wanter-kirkenes

    "I mean, she almost kills bond...with her ass."
    -Mr Arlington Beech
  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 21,763MI6 Agent

    It's nice to know not everyone's as naive as the intelligence services! Kirkens is a town in northern Norway that is as far East as Istanbul and as far north as the north coast of mainland Canada. It was the second most frequently bombed town in Europe in WWII and it has a big radar that Putin hates. Until February people there drove to Russia to shop and the street signs were both in Russian and Norwegian. Many Russians live there. Two people who should know said on TV that the town is "full of spies".

  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 21,763MI6 Agent
    edited November 2022

    August Rathke, the last of the Norwegian Special Operations Executive agents, died today aged 96. He served in the legendary Company Linge. Thank you.

  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 21,763MI6 Agent
    edited January 2023

    The Soviet James Bond



    This is actually a fictional story from the world of espionage, but please bear with me. You may have wondered if there was a Soviet equivalent to James Bond? There was, and his name is Max Otto von Stierlitz and (I quote Wikipedia) "Max Otto von Stierlitz (Russian: Макс О́тто фон Шти́рлиц, IPA: [ˈʂtʲirlʲɪts]) is the lead character in a Russian book series written in the 1960s by Yulian Semyonov, and of the television adaptation Seventeen Moments of Spring (starring Vyacheslav Tikhonov) as well as in feature films (produced in the Soviet era), and in a number of sequels and prequels. Other actors portrayed Stierlitz in several other films. Stierlitz has become a stereotypical spy in Soviet and post-Soviet culture, similar to James Bond in Western culture. American historian Erik Jens has described Stierlitz as the "most popular and venerable hero of Russian spy fiction". Stierlitz was created to give the Soviet secret services and spies a more positive image, something one suspects was desperately needed less than a decade after Stalin died. Wikipedia: " It was during his tenure as KGB chairman from 1961 to 1967 that the cult of the "hero spies" began in the Soviet Union with the Soviet media lionising the achievements of spies such as Harold "Kim" Philby, Richard Sorge, and Colonel Rudolf Abel.[5] Inspired by the popularity of the James Bond novels in the West, Semichastny also encouraged Soviet writers to write novels featuring heroic Chekisty (NKVD/KGB) as their heroes".

    It's also worth mentioning that the Stierlitz character probably had a strong influence on Vladimir Putin's decision to join the KGB and the shaping of his public image in Russia. The first TV series ran in 1973 and Putin joined the KGB in 1975. Back in 1991 when Putin was an aide to the mayor of Leningrad he played out an iconic scene from the TV series for a documentary about the up-and-coming dictator war criminal politician. Unfortunately I haven't been able to find Putin's acting debut, but I did find the origonal scene. Stierlitz has been allowed to see, but not make contact with his wife after being apart for the whole war. This is one of the most iconic moments and the longest silent scene of Soviet TV drama. Try to imagine Vladimir Putin playing the lead role, because he did ... :

    Nostalgia (HD) by Tatiana A. Gordeeva (an homage to Mikael Tariverdiev) - YouTube

    Putin tries to play up real and imagined similarities to Stierlitz. The quiet, serious patriot who was working in Germany as an inteligence agent against fascists, real for Stierlitz and imaginary in the case of Putin.

    Here are two podcasts about Stierlitz:

    Witness History - The Soviet James Bond - BBC Sounds

    BBC Radio 4 Extra - James Bond, The Soviet James Bond

  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 36,208Chief of Staff

    Thanks as ever, N24. That was very interesting.

  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 21,763MI6 Agent
    edited February 2023

    I'm reading a book about the Norwegian military intelligence service. It's a short book written for the general public. Two men wrote the book: the former commanding officer of our army special forces (FSK) and an inteligence officer who wrote a book on inteligence that is lauded internationally as one of the best books on the subject in years. He also comes from the nearest town to where I live. Most likely he was in first grade in the local high school when I was in the third and final year.

    In the book I'm reading he writes a chapter on recruitment. Imagination and initiative is important, so there are some unorthodox tests. He mentions performing as a street artists, inviting a stranger to a boat trip and getting from Oslo to Trondheim in the shortest possible time with just 10 Norwegian kroner. That's about 490 km on less than a dollar. The best future agents aren't necessarily the first to get to Trondheim. The method you chose and you reaction to failure can be more important. Interestingly he also claims the best inteligence officers don't want to work in the inteligence services.

  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 21,763MI6 Agent
    edited February 2023

    I thought silencers on guns in WWII was something mostly the British and (to a lesser extent) the Americans did. Not so. The soviets had loads of them and the Germans had quite a few too:

    German rifle silencer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7-AB3d4l2c

    Silenced German pistol: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7-AB3d4l2c

    Soviet rifle silencer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrQdd31-Eh8



    No video, but this silenced Luger has a facinating backstory:



    And finally, the world's largest "silencer"! (this is real, but not WWII) 😁


  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 36,208Chief of Staff

    The Luger's history is indeed fascinating, though I had to put my glasses on to read it!

  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 21,763MI6 Agent
    edited February 2023

    That reminds me:

    Operation Foxley - Mission: Liquidate Hitler

    Documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tQWj3ggfUI




  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 21,763MI6 Agent
    edited February 2023


    The last painting of queen Elizabeth II she approved of was painted by the Norwegian painter Ross Kolby for the Special Forces Club in London. Her Majesty couldn't pose for the painting personally due to Covid, but she saw and approved of the sketches. Here it is:



    Of course you recognize Winston Churchill and the buildings of parliament. Next we see a fishing vessel at sea. That's in honour of the SOE unit popularly known as "The Shetland Bus" that transported weapons and agents to occupied Norway in WWIi and brought refugees back to Britain. We also see three paratroopers in the sky. They are Norwegian SOE agents of company Linge. to the left we see King Haakon and Crown Prince Olav during the German invasion of Norway. The banners of text are taken from speeches king Haakon and Churchill made during the war. Radio messages from the commandoes from Company Linge sent during the Vemork heavy water sabotage mission is hidden in the stars above queen Elizabeth. It's touching that the last official painting of her has WWII and Norway as motives.



  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 21,763MI6 Agent
    edited February 11

    This looks like a photo of the actor Anthony Quayle from the set of The Guns of Navarone. it isn't. It's a photo of Quayle from WWII when he was an agent in the Special Operations Executive (SOE) working as a liason officer with the guerillas in Albania.



  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 36,208Chief of Staff

    Fascinating to learn that, and of course the portrait holds its own interest. By the way, was the Queen the last major figure directly connected with WW2?

  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 21,763MI6 Agent

    I think she was the last head of a nation who served in the military during WWII.

  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 21,763MI6 Agent
    edited March 2023

    "Major figure" is hard to define, but Prince Philip saw combat in the navy. He must've been one of the last internationally famous people who really fought in WWII.

  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 21,763MI6 Agent
    edited March 2023

    British Army documentary from 1984 about the SAS Regiment, only four years after they became famous for the Iranian embassy rescue. Starting at about 14.15 a Norwegian-speaking SAS tropper talks to a civilian. The tropper's Norwegian isn't bad, but it sounds like his training skipped how to pronounce the letter Å. These days I suspect no-one in the English military is trained in Norwegian since other than the very young or very old all speak English. (See, I can make anything about my own country. 😉)



  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 21,763MI6 Agent

    Here is a link to 20 videos about spies and espionage in WWII. Enjoy!



  • 00730073 COPPosts: 1,007MI6 Agent
    edited April 2023

    If you are in a country where you can catch this new 3 part documentary by the Nordic TV companies, it is highly recommended.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tAfSESiq4s

    Shadow War. "Mission review comes across a list of suspected spies - now an intensive hunt for Putin's emissary in Sweden begins. Through a unique detective work, the reporters discover a lie that threatens the security of the kingdom. SVT together with DR, NRK and Yle can reveal how Russia secretly spies on us.

    There are episodes of the program that contain violence."

    https://www.svtplay.se/video/KZm2dMq/uppdrag-granskning-skuggkriget/1-putins-spioner-i-norden?id=KNnNp4W


    Here's related BBC news spot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTykMcNxcDY

    "I mean, she almost kills bond...with her ass."
    -Mr Arlington Beech
  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 21,763MI6 Agent
    edited April 2023

    "Shadow war" is a good documentary series even though they sometimes make a lot out of something that's obvious to anyone with a minimum of knowledge about the intelligence services. But they find interesting things too. In one episode the journalists are investigating the Russian science ship "Admiral Vladimirsky". The ship happens to sail very near many offshore wind farms and just by pure coincidence the ship slows down every time it's close to one of these wind farms. The journalists got near "Admiral Vladimirsky" in their boat, near the Danish coastline. They saw some people on the science ship. One of them was this nice man, probably a scientist or a or a crew member on this absolutely innocent civilian Russian ship:



  • 00730073 COPPosts: 1,007MI6 Agent

    Yes, I concur. Also it tries very hard to make the reporters involved to look like investigative heroes.

    "I mean, she almost kills bond...with her ass."
    -Mr Arlington Beech
  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 21,763MI6 Agent

    True, but I think they did good work with the Russian spy ships.

  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 21,763MI6 Agent

    Remote-controlled hip pistol for the SOE! Or should I say a cool hip pistol? 😁




  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 21,763MI6 Agent

    Two more SOE guns: the Norm and the Welgun. Neither was the norm. (I'll be here all week 😁)






  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 21,763MI6 Agent

    The Stinger pen gun from the 1990's:


  • 00730073 COPPosts: 1,007MI6 Agent

    BUUUUU!!!! (Throws a beer to the stage... realizes mistake and climbs after to collect it)

    "I mean, she almost kills bond...with her ass."
    -Mr Arlington Beech
  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 21,763MI6 Agent

    Operation Titanic - the forgotten SAS operation on D-day (Peter Fleming gets a mention):




  • Silhouette ManSilhouette Man The last refuge of a scoundrelPosts: 8,669MI6 Agent

    Mark Felton produces some great World War II documentaries. Highly recommended!

    "The tough man of the world. The Secret Agent. The man who was only a silhouette." - Ian Fleming, Moonraker (1955).
  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 21,763MI6 Agent
    edited September 2023

    SIS E-squadon - the real 00-section?


    Here is the Wikipedia entry on the SIS (MI6) E-squadron. It's alledged to be the MI6 paramilitary branch, comparable to the CIA Special Activities Center. The British authorities have never acknowledged that this unit, formally refered to as The Increment, so it's hard to prove anything. Apparently the E-squadron mostly recruits from the SAS and SBS, but they are also trained in more classic espionage skills as well. Some sources say they also learn such skills as piloting civilian ships, flying helicopters and planes and parachuting out of passenger planes. Are assassinations among the missions they do? To me this (rumoured) unit sounds like the real life version of 00-section.


    eliteukforces.info:



  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 36,208Chief of Staff

    Forgive my ignorance, N24 (or anyone else who knows about this), but how is parachuting out of passenger planes different from parachuting out from military ones?

  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 21,763MI6 Agent

    I'm ignorant too. Maybe the speed of the plane?

  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 6,148MI6 Agent

    The other passengers don’t like the doors opening at 30,000 feet 😜

    Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
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