Real stories from the world of espionage and special operations

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  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 21,746MI6 Agent
    edited January 6

    Mike Sadler was the last survivor of the famous Long Range Desert Group (LRDG) and the SAS "L detachment" of WWII, or "the originals" as the SAS members who were recruited by the SAS founder David Stirling and fought in Africa are called. He died aged 103 a few days ago and with him we lost the last witness of the WWII history of two famous British WWII special forces units. In the cold war years Sadler was in the MI6, but little is known of his service there.



    Article: https://www.nytimes.com/2024/01/04/world/europe/mike-sadler-intrepid-dead.html

    Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zc0mVqDiiU

  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 21,746MI6 Agent
    edited January 8

    The SOE agent held the nazi collaborator at gunpoint, a man who even informed on his own brother to the Gestapo.

    "Either we keep you captured in this cabin until the war is over. Or we transport you over to Sweden where you'll be interned" said the agent.

    "Oh no!" interupted the infomer. "I'd rather die!" Immediately the shot rang out.


    Sounds a bit Flemingesque, doesn't it. But this actually happened. The agent's name was John Edvard Tallaksen (seen below) and the nazi informer was Reidar Resen Mandt. Tallaksen assassinated six nazis in total and said he found being a "rat hunter" easy.



  • 00730073 COPPosts: 985MI6 Agent

    I would have chosen similarly, and I'm not even a collaborator -nazi or otherwise!

    "I mean, she almost kills bond...with her ass."
    -Mr Arlington Beech
  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 21,746MI6 Agent

    😂

  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 21,746MI6 Agent
    edited January 14

    I'm sure you're guilty of collaborating with SOMEONE in your life, 0073. Your co-workers, the Finnish military, your (possible?) wife or even our own member Someone?

  • Silhouette ManSilhouette Man The last refuge of a scoundrelPosts: 8,660MI6 Agent

    A Finnish collaborator you say? Could we be looking at Aarne Tudeer, also known as Count Konrad von Glöda? 😉

    "The tough man of the world. The Secret Agent. The man who was only a silhouette." - Ian Fleming, Moonraker (1955).
  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 21,746MI6 Agent

    😂

  • 00730073 COPPosts: 985MI6 Agent

    What is this!? "Guilty until proven innocent"? Are you sure you're not a closet Swede, Number24?

    "I mean, she almost kills bond...with her ass."
    -Mr Arlington Beech
  • 00730073 COPPosts: 985MI6 Agent

    Not really, in real life Finnish army officers, turned SS officers go on to have successful careers in US Special Forces instead of dying in the arctic circle in a failed plot to start a "Fourth Reich".

    "I mean, she almost kills bond...with her ass."
    -Mr Arlington Beech
  • Silhouette ManSilhouette Man The last refuge of a scoundrelPosts: 8,660MI6 Agent

    That's interesting. Some may have escaped to South America like Aarne Tudeer did. Could that have been part of Operation Paperclip?

    "The tough man of the world. The Secret Agent. The man who was only a silhouette." - Ian Fleming, Moonraker (1955).
  • 00730073 COPPosts: 985MI6 Agent
    "I mean, she almost kills bond...with her ass."
    -Mr Arlington Beech
  • Silhouette ManSilhouette Man The last refuge of a scoundrelPosts: 8,660MI6 Agent
    edited January 15

    Thanks, @0073. I'll have a read of this. I'm very interested in this stuff on the Finnish SS as I'm researching an article on the origins of the villains in John Gardner's Icebreaker (1983). I have gathered up some good material so far during my research. See more details here:

    "Breaking the Ice" - Your views on John Gardner's Icebreaker (1983)? — ajb007

    You're very welcome to contribute something to that thread as it's all grist to the mill. 🙂

    I have also found this book from 2019 to be very helpful in my research:


    "The tough man of the world. The Secret Agent. The man who was only a silhouette." - Ian Fleming, Moonraker (1955).
  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 21,746MI6 Agent
    edited January 20

    SMERSH returns!

    Members who've read Fleming also know SMERSH, the unit that was the main enemy organization before SPECTRE. The unit is a plot point in TLD where the words "Smiert spionom", death to spies, is found near assassination victims. SMERSH is a abrivation of Smiert Spionom.


    Some also know SMERSH was a real counter-inteligence unit created by Stalin during WWII, but discontinued in 1946. Now Putin as revived the unit under the same name, probably to support the myth that the invasion in Ukraine is a fight against foreign fascists who are threathening Russia yet again. Their mission is again to catch foreign spies.

    Agents with SMERSH written on their uniforms:



    "SMERSH in Crimea!"


    Possible photo of SMERSH in Ukraine:




  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 21,746MI6 Agent
    edited January 27


    I continue the story of Torstein Raaby. Before you you read the sequel you should perhaps read the prequel?


    Raaby worked for the military in the years after the war, mostly working with radio communications. He also became a friend of Thor Heyerdahl who I mentioned in my first post about Raaby. Heyerdahl had a theory that the Pasific islands were populated from south America using balsa wood rafts. To prove it he made a raft and sailed it from Peru to French Polynesia. He recruited friends for the crew, several of them WWII veterans. One was Knut Haugland who served in Special Operations Executive agent and took part in the Vemork mission. If you don't know what i'm talking about you should start by Googling it before starting a six month deep-dive in the WWII version of James Bond. Have fun!

    When Heyerdahl telegraphed Raaby and asked if he wanted to be a part of the expedition he replied "I'm in. Thorstein."

    Photos from the Kon-Tiki expedition.



    Thortstein Raaby on the Kon Tiki


    As you can imagine it was a boy's own adventure in the Pacific, a long way from war in the freezing north. The expedition became famous all over the world and gave him a lot more fame than spying on perhaps the most infamous battle ship of the war. After the Kon Tiki expedition Raaby moved back to northern Norway and worked on Beat Island and on Jan Mayen. For those of you who only know these islands from Alistair McLean novel, they are islands somewhere between iceland and Svalbard. The only inhabitants are crew member of meterelogical stations.



    It seems like Torstein Raaby was unable to say no to an expedition. When he was asked to be the radio operator on a Norwegian expedition to the North Pole in 1964 he naturally said yes. They found themselves on a Canadian army base on Ellesmere Island named Alert. Alert is just NORTH of Greenland and is the northernmost continously populated place in the world. The army base is there to work on signals inteligence and cryptography. Prpbably because of the nature of the work done on there the Norwegian expedition was barely allowed inside the base and had to live in their tents.



    While Thortein Raaby was only in his 40's he was a long way from the boxer and commando he had been twenty years earlier. On this expedition he had to operate the generator for the radio by hand and conditions were tough. The was hero and adventurer died from an heart attack in a secretive army base in the freezing Arctic. Do we agree Thorstein Raaby's life deserves more attention?



  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 36,154Chief of Staff
  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 21,746MI6 Agent

    Perhaps if Putin wants Russia to return to the Stalinist cold war, so should Bond?

  • Silhouette ManSilhouette Man The last refuge of a scoundrelPosts: 8,660MI6 Agent

    I'm always of the impression that these organisations never really go away for too long. They simply rebadge them and rename them but the intentions behind them are unaltered.

    "The tough man of the world. The Secret Agent. The man who was only a silhouette." - Ian Fleming, Moonraker (1955).
  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 21,746MI6 Agent

    You have a point. But as Putin's regime is bad, it's not really as bad as Russia was under Stailin. I hope Putin has units with experience in mass executions like the NKVD in Katyn. it's also much harder to keep these things secret.

  • Silhouette ManSilhouette Man The last refuge of a scoundrelPosts: 8,660MI6 Agent

    Well, that's for sure. Even the Soviet leadership itself later denounced Stalin and his policies, especially under his successor Khrushchev. Lenin also famously didn't want Stalin to succeed him as leader. As you say, it's much harder now with the advent of the internet, drones etc. to keep things secret and sweep atrocities under the rug. That can only be a good thing for the future of humanity.

    "The tough man of the world. The Secret Agent. The man who was only a silhouette." - Ian Fleming, Moonraker (1955).
  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 21,746MI6 Agent

    It's rare to get real video footage from special operations, but now we got one example of this. Operaton Citadel was an attack on a Russian-occupied mining plattorm off the coast of occupied Crimea by Ukranian navy special forces. The Russians had installed two radars on the platform, particularely one radar that guided Iranian-made kamikaze drones to their targets in Ukranian-held territory. Another radar monoitored surface activity in the western Black Sea. Even without having their own navy (in the sense of having larger vessels) the Ukranians are gradually wrestling control of the western Black Sea. Operation Citadel is a classic special operation where the commandoes removed the radars, placed explosives and saw the platform blow up behind them as they left the scene in fast boats.



  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 21,746MI6 Agent
    edited February 17

    Jason Bourne's collection of fake passports and other kit:


    Gunnar "No. 24" Sønsteby's real collection of fake identities and other tools of the trade:


  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 21,746MI6 Agent
    edited March 28

    Vasyl Malyuk is the head of the Ukrainian military secret servise SBU. In a recent interview he doesn't officially admit SBU is behind some high-profile asassinations on on Ukranians collabrating with the Russian invaders as vel as others. but what he says is well beyond hinting and he gives details about these assassinations. While i can't say I condone every killing SBU has done I know the Norwegian resistance did "rat work" during WWII very much like this adn in certain siutuations it's necessary. it can be argued that the SBU assasinations are the real life current version of what the litterary James Bond's job was.



    Handgun used in the assassination of a high-ranking Ukranian collaborating with the russian authorities:



  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 21,746MI6 Agent

    The true purpose of the SAS. 😁 (Fry and Laurie)



  • 00730073 COPPosts: 985MI6 Agent
    "I mean, she almost kills bond...with her ass."
    -Mr Arlington Beech
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