Re: Real stories from the world of espionage and special operations

Great thread, N24.


Re: Real stories from the world of espionage and special operations

Thank you.  ajb007/smile

Anyone is encouraged to post in this thread. The reason so many of the stories I write about are from Norway is because most of those stories are unknown to other members while the sources are easily available to me. If stories that happened outside of this country I usually just link to the sources.
I'm sure there are many such interesting and exciting stories in countries like Germany, France, Finland, Poland and the Philippines etc. that most of us don't know. Contributions are welcome!

A note about Joh Ford's WWII service from IMDB:
While he produced a number of documentaries and training films for the OSS, perhaps one of his more notable achievements was a one-hour compilation of films which had been produced by order of Gen. (and future President) Dwight D. Eisenhower, showing liberated concentration camps. The film, Nazi Concentration Camps (1945), was entered as evidence at the Nuremberg War Crime Trials.


Re: Real stories from the world of espionage and special operations

Juan Pujol Garcia, a.k.a "Garbo" or "Alaric"

I shamelessly took this from wikipedia, but I thought this man's life was quite extraordinary.
If you understand French (there are English subtitles if you don't), there's a short video that summarises his life: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGPYqrXIL4Q


Juan Pujol García MBE (1912–1988) was a Spanish double agent against Nazi Germany during World War II, when he relocated to Britain to carry out fictitious spying activities for the Germans. He was given the codename Garbo by the British; their German counterparts codenamed him Alaric and referred to his non-existent spy network as "Arabal".

Early life

Pujol was born in Barcelona. The third of four children, Pujol was sent at age seven to the Valldemia boarding school run by the Marist Brothers in Mataró, twenty miles from Barcelona; he remained there for the next four years. The students were only allowed out of the school on Sundays if they had a visitor, so his father made the trip every week.

His mother came from a strict Roman Catholic family and took communion every day, but his father was much more secular and had liberal political beliefs. At age thirteen, he was transferred to a school in Barcelona run by his father's card-playing friend Father Mossen Josep, where he remained for three years. After an argument with a teacher, he decided that he no longer wished to remain at the school, and became an apprentice at a hardware store.

Pujol engaged in a variety of occupations prior to and after the Spanish Civil War, such as studying animal husbandry at the Royal Poultry School in Arenys de Mar and managing various businesses, including a cinema.

His father died a few months after the Second Republic's establishment in 1931, while Pujol was completing his education as a poultry farmer. Pujol's father left his family well-provided for, until his father's factory was taken over by the workers in the run-up to the Spanish Civil War.

Spanish Civil War


In 1931, Pujol did his six months of compulsory military service in a cavalry unit, the 7th Regiment of Light Artillery. He knew he was unsuited for a military career, hating horse-riding and claiming to lack the "essential qualities of loyalty, generosity, and honor".[18] Pujol was managing a poultry farm north of Barcelona in 1936 when the Spanish Civil War began. His sister Elana's fiancé was taken by Republican forces, and later she and his mother were arrested and charged with being counter-revolutionaries. A relative in a trade union was able to rescue them from captivity.

He was called up for service on the Republican side but opposed the Republican government due to their treatment of his family. He hid at his girlfriend's home until he was captured in a police raid and imprisoned for a week, before being freed via the Traditionalist resistance group Socorro Blanco. They hid him until they could produce fake identity papers that showed him to be too old for military service.

He started managing a poultry farm that had been requisitioned by the local Republican government, but it was not economically viable. The experience with rule by committee intensified his antipathy towards Communism.

He re-joined the Republican side using the false papers with the intention to desert as soon as possible, volunteering to lay telegraph cables near the front lines. He managed to desert to the Nationalist side during the Battle of the Ebro in September 1938. However, he was equally ill-treated by the Nationalist side, disliking their fascist influences and being struck and imprisoned by his colonel upon Pujol's expressing sympathy with the monarchy.

His experience with both sides left him with a deep loathing of both fascism and Communism, and by extension Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. He was proud that he had managed to serve both sides without firing a single bullet for either. After his discharge from the Nationalist army, he met his future first wife, Araceli Gonzalez, in Burgos and married her in Madrid; they had one child, Joan Fernando.

World War II

Independent spying

In 1939, during the early days of World War ll, Pujol decided that he must make a contribution "for the good of humanity" (and to oppose the Franco regime) by helping Britain – which, with its empire, was Germany's only adversary at the time.

He initially approached the British three different times, including through his wife (though Pujol edited her participation out of his memoirs), but they showed no interest in employing him as a spy. Therefore, he resolved to establish himself as a German agent before approaching the British again to offer his services as a double-agent.

Pujol created an identity as a fanatically pro-Nazi Spanish government official who could travel to London on official business; he also obtained a fake Spanish diplomatic passport by fooling a printer into thinking Pujol worked for the Spanish embassy in Lisbon. He contacted Friedrich Knappe-Ratey, an Abwehr agent in Madrid, codenamed "Frederico". The Abwehr accepted Pujol and gave him a crash course in espionage (including secret writing), a bottle of invisible ink, a codebook, and £600 for expenses. His instructions were to move to Britain and recruit a network of British agents.

He moved instead to Lisbon, and – using a tourist's guide to Britain, reference books, and magazines from the Lisbon Public Library, and newsreel reports he saw in cinemas – created seemingly credible reports that appeared to come from London. He claimed to be travelling around Britain and submitted his travel expenses based on fares listed in a British railway guide. Pujol's unfamiliarity with the pre-decimal system of currency used in Britain was a slight difficulty. At this time Great Britain used a duodecimal system of exchange expressed in pounds, shillings and pence. Because of the different rules of addition in a duodecimal system he was unable to total his expenses. Instead, he simply itemised them, and said that he would send the total later.

During this time he created an extensive network of fictitious sub-agents living in different parts of Britain. Because he had never actually visited the UK, he made several mistakes, such as claiming that his alleged contact in Glasgow "would do anything for a litre of wine", unaware of Scottish drinking habits or that the UK did not use the metric system. His reports were intercepted via the Ultra programme, and seemed so credible that the British counter-intelligence service MI5 launched a full-scale spy hunt.

In February 1942, either he or his wife (accounts differ) approached the United States after it had entered the war, contacting U.S. Navy Lieutenant Patrick Demorest in the naval attache's office in Lisbon, who recognised Pujol's potential. Demorest contacted his British counterparts.

Work with MI5

The British had become aware that someone had been misinforming the Germans, and realised the value of this after the Kriegsmarine wasted resources attempting to hunt down a non-existent convoy reported to them by Pujol. He was moved to Britain on 24 April 1942 and given the code name "Bovril", after the drink concentrate. However, after he passed the security check conducted by MI6 Officer Desmond Bristow, Bristow suggested that he be accompanied by MI5 officer Tomás Harris (a fluent Spanish speaker) to brief Pujol on how he and Harris should work together. Pujol's wife and child were later moved to Britain.

Pujol operated as a double agent under the XX Committee's aegis; Cyril Mills was initially Bovril's case officer; but he spoke no Spanish and quickly dropped out of the picture. His main contribution was to suggest, after the truly extraordinary dimensions of Pujol's imagination and accomplishments had become apparent, that his code name should be changed as befitted 'the best actor in the world'; and Bovril became "Garbo", after Greta Garbo. Mills passed his case over to the Spanish-speaking officer Harris.

Together, Harris and Pujol wrote 315 letters, averaging 2,000 words, addressed to a post-office box in Lisbon supplied by the Germans. His fictitious spy network was so efficient and verbose that his German handlers were overwhelmed and made no further attempts to recruit any additional spies in the UK, according to the Official History of British Intelligence in World War II.
Pujol's case officer at MI5, Tomás Harris

Garbo was unique among Britain's double-agents, having deliberately set out to become one. The rest were enemy agents who had been discovered and turned, which required that they work under guard.

The information supplied to German intelligence was a mixture of complete fiction, genuine information of little military value, and valuable military intelligence artificially delayed. In November 1942, just before the Operation Torch landings in North Africa, Garbo's agent on the River Clyde reported that a convoy of troopships and warships had left port, painted in Mediterranean camouflage. The letter was postmarked before the landings and sent via airmail, but was artificially delayed by British Intelligence in order to arrive too late to be useful. Pujol received a reply stating "we are sorry they arrived too late but your last reports were magnificent."

Pujol had been supposedly communicating with the Germans via a courier, a Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM) pilot willing to carry messages to and from Lisbon for cash. This meant that message deliveries were limited to the KLM flight schedule. In 1943, responding to German requests for speedier communication, Pujol and Harris created a fictitious radio operator. Radio became the preferred method of communication.

On occasion, he had to invent reasons why his agents had failed to report easily available information that the Germans would eventually know about. For example, he reported that his (fabricated) Liverpool agent had fallen ill just before a major fleet movement from that port, and so was unable to report the event. To support this story, the agent eventually 'died' and an obituary was placed in the local newspaper as further evidence to convince the Germans. The Germans were also persuaded to pay a pension to the agent's widow.

For radio communication, "Alaric" needed the strongest hand encryption the Germans had. The Germans provided Garbo with this system, which was in turn supplied to the codebreakers at Bletchley Park. Garbo's encrypted messages were to be received in Madrid, manually decrypted, and re-encrypted with an Enigma machine for transmission to Berlin. This gave the codebreakers the best possible source material for a chosen-plaintext attack on the Enigma key used for the second leg, namely the original text.

Operation Fortitude

In January 1944, the Germans told Pujol that they believed a large-scale invasion in Europe was imminent and asked to be kept informed. This invasion was Operation Overlord, and Pujol played a leading role in Operation Fortitude, the deception campaign to conceal Overlord. He sent over 500 radio messages between January 1944 and D-Day, at times more than twenty messages per day. During planning for the Normandy beach invasion, the Allies decided that it was vitally important that the German leaders be misled into believing that the landing would happen at the Strait of Dover.

In order to maintain his credibility, it was decided that Garbo (or one of his agents) should forewarn the Germans of the timing and some details of the actual invasion of Normandy, although sending it too late for them to take effective action. Special arrangements were made with the German radio operators to be listening to Garbo through the night of 5/6 June 1944, using the story that a sub-agent was about to arrive with important information. However, when the call was made at 3 AM, no reply was received from the German operators until 8 AM. Turning this piece of bad luck on its head, Garbo was able to add more operational details to the message when finally sent and thus increase his standing with the Germans. Garbo told his German contacts that he was disgusted that his first message was missed, saying "I cannot accept excuses or negligence. Were it not for my ideals I would abandon the work."
An inflatable M4 Sherman tank of the First U.S. Army Group

On 9 June—three days after D-day—Garbo sent a message to German intelligence that was passed to Adolf Hitler and the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW; German High Command). Garbo said that he had conferred with his top agents and developed an order of battle showing 75 divisions in Britain; in reality, there were only about 50. Part of the "Fortitude" plan was to convince the Germans that a fictitious formation—First U.S. Army Group, comprising 11 divisions (150,000 men), commanded by General George Patton—was stationed in the south and east of Britain.

The deception was supported by fake planes, inflatable tanks, and vans travelling about the area transmitting bogus radio chatter. Garbo's message pointed out that units from this formation had not participated in the invasion, and therefore the first landing should be considered a diversion. A German message to Madrid sent two days later said "all reports received in the last week from Arabel [spy network codename] undertaking have been confirmed without exception and are to be described as especially valuable."A post-war examination of German records found that, during Operation Fortitude, no fewer than sixty-two of Pujol's reports were included in OKW intelligence summaries.

OKW accepted Garbo's reports so completely that they kept two armoured divisions and 19 infantry divisions in the Pas de Calais waiting for a second invasion through July and August 1944. The German Commander-in-Chief in the west, Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt, refused to allow General Erwin Rommel to move these divisions to Normandy. There were more German troops in the Pas de Calais region two months after the Normandy invasion than there had been on D-Day.

In late June, Garbo was instructed by the Germans to report on the falling of V-1 flying bombs. Finding no way of giving false information without arousing suspicion, and being unwilling to give correct information, Harris arranged for Garbo to be "arrested". He returned to duty a few days later, now having a "need" to avoid London, and forwarded an "official" letter of apology from the Home Secretary for his unlawful detention.

The Germans paid Pujol US$340,000 to support his network of agents, which at one point totaled 27 fabricated characters.


As Alaric, he was awarded the Iron Cross Second Class on 29 July 1944, for his services to the German war effort. The award was normally reserved for front-line fighting men and required Hitler's personal authorisation. The Iron Cross was presented via radio, and Pujol received the physical medal from one of his German handlers after the war had ended.

As Garbo, he received an MBE from King George VI, on 25 November 1944. The Nazis never realised they had been fooled, and thus Pujol earned the distinction of being one of the few – if not the only one – to receive decorations from both sides during World War II.

"Luck was a servant and not a master." - Ian Fleming, Casino Royale


Re: Real stories from the world of espionage and special operations

(I'll probably add more pictures in the near future in order to make it more readable)

"Luck was a servant and not a master." - Ian Fleming, Casino Royale


Re: Real stories from the world of espionage and special operations

That's great, Carnwennan! I agree more photos woud be good, but Garbo's story is fantastic. I've read Ben MacIntyre's book about the double cross system, but I learned new things about Garbo from your post.


Re: Real stories from the world of espionage and special operations

Here is a short documentary about Italian frogmen in WWII. The unit Decemia MAS pioneered the use of combat divers, only the Soviets and the Italians had this kind of troops at the start of the war. German, British and US combat divers learnt from the Italians about this type of warfare. It can be argued that Decemia MAS was the most elite unit in WWII, at least in the early part of the war.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_cont … e=emb_logo





Last edited by Number24 (16th Dec 2019 13:27)


Re: Real stories from the world of espionage and special operations

Number24 wrote:

Selmer Nilsen and the U2 spy plane


Before spy satellites became available it was very difficult to get photos taken from the air of the USSR. The American solution was the U2 plane, an unarmed plane that was able to fly above any enemy fighter jets and ground-to-air misslies. The plane was not a part of the US Air Force because flying a military airplane over USSR air space could be considered an act of war. Instead the U2 operated for the CIA. Most of you know a U2 plane was shot down over the Soviet Union in 1960, causing a major crisis between NATO and the USSR.

Some of you know the final mission was ment to be from Pashawar in Pakistan to Bodø in Norway. Bodø is a town placed only slightly north of the Arctic circle and had been used many times before by U2 planes. It's been discussed how many in Norway knew this, but it's unlikely the Prime Minister was briefed. U2 landed at night and was hidden in a designated hangar as quickly as possible. Locals who got a glimpse of the plane called it "the black lady". The hangar was guarded and operated by American CIA personel who were armed with sidearms in shoulder holsters. Norwegian Air Force personell weren't allowed near the hangar even though it was on a Norwegian base.


Now we intruduce Selmer Nilsen to the story. He was born in 1931 in Bakfjord, pretty much as far north you can get in Norway or Europe. About as far north as northern Alaska. During WWII his family worked for the Soviet secret service against the Germans, probably mainly because the USSR was by far the nearest ally. Two of his older brothers got training in the Soviet Union. Selmer was just a boy, but he remembered being punched in the face by a Gestapo officer. This area was an important part of the world during the war. It's worth mentioning that the German battleship Tirpitz was hiding in a narrow fjord close to their home.



In the fall of 1944 the Soviet army started moving into nornthern Norway and Hitler ordered the region to be burnt completely to the ground, the so-called "scorched earth" strategy. An area the size of Denmark was torched, 200,000 German soldiers were evacuated along with 50 000 civilians who were moved against their will. 25,000 civilians decided to stay against the German orders. They hid for months in caves, under upturned rowboats and other hiding places for months while German units hunted them.

Civilians finally leaving the cave after being liberated by Soviet forces

The Nilsen family fled across the border to the USSR. After the war they returned and rebuilt their farm. In 1947 a Soviet intelligence officer knocked on their door. Sources sometimes say this was a GRU operation, other say it was the KGB. The intelligence officer said the Nilsen family had to give them one of the sons or they would return, an obvious threat. The sixteen year old Selmer was chosen and taken back to the USSR. There he was given radio and morse training and "ideological instruction".
He returned to Norway under orders to get a military career or marry into an officer family. He joined the army for National Service, but due to severe asthma he did not finish his training. He hoped he was off the hook, but around 1956 the Soviet secret service returned and ordered him to continue spying for them. Selmer traveled in northern Norway as a fisherman and he even started his own little traveling amusement park as cover. He mainly looked out for ships, especially NATO navy ships. He visited the USSR several times in the following years. Usually by sea using his fishing boat (not unusual back during the war), but once he simply walked across the border on foot. There he got additional training, payment for his services and sometimes new equipment.

Selmer Nilsen

His radio set issued by the Soviets:

In 1960 he was ordered to do surveillance of Bodø Main Air Station to look if he could see the U2 plane. He hid in one of the bunkers near the air force base made by the Germans during WWII. He observed the plane and reported back to the Soviets.  Francis Gary Powers was shot down not very long after Selmer Nilsen had made his reports.  The next  time he visited the  USSR he was told two agents had placed a bomb with a timer on the plane while it was on the ground in Pakistan, but it's more likely the Soviet ground-to-air missiles Technology had finally caught up with the plane and they got their chance when they knew the approximate route.

The control tower of Bodø air station is now a museum

The wreckage of the  U2


The (very optimistic) survival equipment Francis Gary Powers was issued with

Selmer Nilsen was finally caught in 1967, after being an agent for twenty years. He felt relieved. He only served seven and a half years in prison because of his health problems, then he returned to his family farm. In 1971 a long TV interview was made of him, but it wasn't aired until 2007. Selmer Nilsen died in 1991.

New information has surfaced about Selmer Nilsen. After he was arrested for espionage in 1967 the Norwegian governemnt was worried would try to assassinate him to keep him quiet. They also wanted to check if Selmer had any radios or other sensitive equipment hiddden near his house in Bakfjord. The solution was using a motor torpedo boat (MTB). MTBs are small, but very agile, quick and heavily armed naval boats. Norway produced some of the best MTBs in the cold war period and the desiger was the son of Martin Linge, the man who created and commanded the main Norwegian SOE unit in WWII. The job of the MTBs was to sink landing ships in a Soviet amphibios landing in northern Norway. The MTBs had a very high leel of readiness and there were plans to evacuate and hide the families of the crew to avoid attacks by spetsnaz hit squads prior to or during a war.


One of these boats was given secret orders to the Arctic town Bodø. The there commander Prytz who was the CO of the boat had a meeting with staff officers who told him: "Prytz, you're going on a special mission further north. It's top secret. Leave as soon as possible, and the boat has to be combat ready when you sail." Next stop was in Tromsø where two  military inteligence officers had a meeting with Prytz in his locked cabin. He was told the mission was for the Police Surveilance Service (POT). As they sailed even further north the markings on the boat were covered in paint, the canon was test-fired and the crew was ready for combat at all times. In the town of Hammerfest two police officers and a civilian cameon board the MTB. The civilian was Selmer Nilsen, a man the crew knew nothing about since his arrest was still a secret. Selmer looked nervous and under a lot of stress. From then on Selmer Nilsen was guarded by armed soldiers. There is very little space on an MTB, sothe prisoner slept in the top bunk in the captain's cabin. The captain and Nilsen spent a lot of time together and had long talks. At first Nilsen was still in spy mode and tried to get as much information as he could from the captain and his surroundings, but gradually they developed a kind of friendship. Finally they arrived in Bakfjord, a small community without roads to the outside world. This is pretty much as far north you can get in mainland Europe.


At this time no civilians lived in Bakfjord any more. The navy knew a civilian ship from the USSR had visited Bakfjord recently and someone had tried burning down the houses and the pier. The MTB was under radio silence and armed crew members in plain clothes guarded the hills. The boat was ready to confront any ship entering the fjord. The crew also helped the  police searching for any hidden equipment  Flame throwers with napalm were used to melt the snow.

One day a small seaplane turned up and started circling above the unmarked MTB. "Now they're comming!" said Selmer Nilsen. "Who?" asked the captain. "The Russians …" replied the terrified spy. The MTB sent up a flare to warn off the plane. When it still didn't leave the cannon was aimed at the floats under the fuselage. The seaplane finally left. The plane was really hired by a journalist in the national newspaper Dagbladet. A few days later a photo taken from the seaplane was on the front page of the newspaper;  "MOTOR TORPEDO BOAT, PLANE AND HELICOPTER TO THE SPY NEST. Cannon aimed at Dagbladet - leave the area immediately! Wild theories about secret submarine base." The arrest of Selmer Nilsen had to be made public after the printing of that article.

Last edited by Number24 (21st Dec 2019 00:50)


Re: Real stories from the world of espionage and special operations

Whiskey on the Rocks and other secrets

In 1981 a Soviet submarine a Soviet submarine ran aground in the Stockholm archepilago, near a major Swedish navy base. The submarine was of the Whiskey class, so the incident became known as "Whiskey on the rocks".


In recent years it's been revealed that the Soviets were very close to attacking the area to tow the sub back to the USSR because they didn't want the Swedes to search their submarine. A full company of Baltic Fleet Spetsnaz were to spearhead the attack, beliveing the Swedes wouldn't have the backbone to resist such a raid. It wasn't unitil the Swedes switch on active targeting for their coastal artillery the Soviets had to think twice and turn back.



What is less known is that the Soviet union directed amphibious covert missions in Norway too in the final years of the USSR.
We knew our navy tried to lock off fjords and make foreign submarines surface, but we never managed to catch them in the act.
Sports divers found tracks on the bottom of the sea near many strategically important places. One of these locations was Jarfjord, only about nine miles from the Soviet border. Jarfjord also had military instalations that was NATO's very first line of defence against an attack form the east. The military inteligence service decided to keep the discovery a secret and check again in a few months using Mindedykkere, our version of Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT). They found even more tracks at the bottom of the fjord.
A four-man patrol of MJK, the navy special forces combat divers were sent in October to observe the fjord. The recce was done in complete secrecy and was planned to go on for three months. Very few were informed of the operation. The MJK were officially training somewhere else and radio traffic was kept at a bare minimum. This was less than a year before the fall of the Soviet Union and around the time the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Mikhail Gorbacow.

Example of a Soviet midget submarine:


MJK members on a winter recon:


In late November the combat divers hear a sound from the fjord. They focused their binoculars and see bubbles in the sea. A small vessel surfaced. The midget submarine was visible for several minutes before it dived again.
The soldier who commanded the patrol and made the observation was Trond Bolle. Later in the same recce food got scarce, but he caught and slaughtered a seal for his patrol. After the New Year the Military Inteligence asked the General Staff for permision to attack the midget submarine and any enemy  personel next time it turned up. permision was given, but all foreign activity in the area stopped right after the General Staff heard of the special forces surveilance in Jarfjord. Makes one wonder ….

Bolle later became a squadron leader and was awarded more medals than any other Norwegian soldier since WWII. For years he was a member of E14, a secret espionage group that worked all over the Middle East, some African countries and the Balkans. E14 usually operated in groups of three: one special forces soldier, one member with academic background and an interpretor. Sometimes E14 recruited beautiful women because they could trick powerful men to give away secret information.
Trond bolle was killed by the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2010. It was an IED delibrerately set off to kill him, a dangerous enemy. .

Trond Bolle with other E14 members and local assets in the Khyber Pass:


Last edited by Number24 (25th Dec 2019 19:08)


Re: Real stories from the world of espionage and special operations

I really like these WWII posters about spies and intelligence.







Some of these posters were  horribly racist:










Last edited by Number24 (29th Dec 2019 17:30)


Re: Real stories from the world of espionage and special operations

Photos from Stasi's (East German secret police) secret archive.

Surveilance of a post box


A photo taken by a Stasi agent of a Western agent photographing him


Another example of spies taking photos of each other


Learning to use disguises


Learning how to put on a fake mustache


Surveilance of an underground blues consert


Hand-to-hand fight training


Dissident forced to re-inact his own arrest for training purposes.


Member of Stasi's phone tapping unit is honoured in a humourous ritual.


Stasi agents on surveilance duty.



Last edited by Number24 (4th Jan 2020 20:50)


Re: Real stories from the world of espionage and special operations

Surveillance photos taken by the Czechoslovakian secret police in the late cold war.







Re: Real stories from the world of espionage and special operations

Death in Ice Valley


This is a podcast in English made by the BBC and NRK: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p064322t

In November 1970 a burnt body of a woman was found in Isdalen ("Ice Valley") near Bergen in Norway. The dead woman carried no ID and all identifying markings were removed or cut off her clothes. The police found her locker in Bergen belonging to her. They found elegant clothes, wigs and glasses not corrected for eyesight. A notebook with a list of her travel destinations written in code was also found. Further investigation showed that she had traveled a lot between the largest cities in southern Norway. She used eight different passports, all fake, changing her name and ID almost every time she changed hotels. Who was she? Was she a spy? If so, for whom?

The code from her notebook:



Last edited by Number24 (6th Jan 2020 01:07)


Re: Real stories from the world of espionage and special operations

Project Acoustic Kitty


In the 1960's the CIA spent 20 million $ to turn a cat into  spy. The Central Intelligence Agency Directorate of Science & Technology implanted a microphone in the cat's ear canal, a small radio transmitter at the base of its skull and a thin wire into its fur. The goal was to eavesdrop on secret conversations in Soviet embassies and in the Kremlin itself. Since the cat was hard to train like all cats are, and a major problem was the feline's tendency to abort mission if it got hungry. The solution was a second operation where the cat's sense of hunger was removed. Electrical prodding was also used to train the poor animal. When finally the 20 million dollar spy was ready for its first mission nearby the Soviet embassy in Washington DC, the cat was imediately ……… run over by a cab.


Last edited by Number24 (17th Jan 2020 00:34)


Re: Real stories from the world of espionage and special operations

Espionage in the age of terror

A very interesting podcast on modern espionage: https://player.fm/series/america-abroad … -of-terror



Re: Real stories from the world of espionage and special operations


Last edited by Thunderpussy (9th Jan 2021 14:19)

"I've been informed that there ARE a couple of QAnon supporters who are fairly regular posters in AJB."


Re: Real stories from the world of espionage and special operations

This is a video about Italian combat divers (also the topic of post post #81) and their daring operations against Gibraltar in WWII.

(Lionel "Buster" Crabb was the diver in charge of the British unit defending Gibraltar harbour against these attacks. Crabb went missing when he dived to the Soviet navy ship in Porthsmoth in 1965 in a MI6 mission.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vu0HYW3 … 6&t=0s



Re: Real stories from the world of espionage and special operations

Real spy gadgets from museums:

An arm prosthesis with a gun is on display at the spy museum in Oberhausen, Germany,

Lipstick gun:

Shoe from the 1960's with a voice transmitter in the heel.

Flashlight gun (Perhaps a good idea for a Bond Movie, especially if they hide the barrel  behind the bulb)

Last edited by Number24 (26th Jan 2020 18:34)


Re: Real stories from the world of espionage and special operations

This is a great documantary by Ben Macintyre about the safecracker, playboy and WWII double agent Eddie Chapman. Most Bond fans will love this one, I think  ajb007/bond

Video: https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Do … M%3DHDRSC3



Re: Real stories from the world of espionage and special operations

Megaroc - the planned British Moonraker

The British could have put an man in Space in the 1950's

Youtube documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWFFzL65dEQ



Re: Real stories from the world of espionage and special operations


Last edited by Thunderpussy (9th Jan 2021 14:19)

"I've been informed that there ARE a couple of QAnon supporters who are fairly regular posters in AJB."


Re: Real stories from the world of espionage and special operations

Yes, but Megaroc  is still one of the best rocket names - almost as good as Moonraker!  ajb007/biggrin


Re: Real stories from the world of espionage and special operations


Last edited by Thunderpussy (9th Jan 2021 14:20)

"I've been informed that there ARE a couple of QAnon supporters who are fairly regular posters in AJB."


Re: Real stories from the world of espionage and special operations

A very unusual court case started today. A company in the concrete business sues the Norwegian secret services (both inteligence and Counter-intelligence( for nearly 136 000 000 Crowns (nearly 15 million USD. The reason is that the company used to work a lot in Northern Russia when Our Secret services tried to recruit them. This was so unbelivably clumsilly (once they tried to contact the Company CEO at his home. Since the door was locked the "Secret" policeman knocked on the neighbour's door and asked him to tell the CEO the PST (police counter-intelligence) wanted him to contact them. The CEO rejected the offer, but belive it or not the Russian FSB got wind of Norwegian secret services contact with the concrete company.  ajb007/lol
The leaders of the company were thrown out of Russia and they never got another contract in the country. Christ ….  ajb007/crap  ajb007/crap


Re: Real stories from the world of espionage and special operations

It turns out employees of the company were handled very though by the Russian FSB. During intorrogation they were threathened with   handguns to their heads and syringes with unknown content. One person was taken to the edge of the roof a highrise building and given "hints" about how far it was to the ground. I fear this court case offer some hard truths about both countries' secret services.


Re: Real stories from the world of espionage and special operations

The ice kiss - a cold war tragedy


Honey traps has been a part of espionage since the begining, and it rarely end well for whoever falls into one. Gunvor Galtung Haavik is certainly an example of this. She was born in 1912 in a industrial town in the fjords of southern Norway. Gunvor had romantic dreams of the outside world, and she loved it when a Cossack orchestra visited the town. She decided to learn Russian because of this visit. She moved to the capital to study to be a nurse, but she also sought out Valerij Karrik. He was an artist and a figure in the very small Russian immigrant community in Oslo. Karrik became Gunvor's best friend and a subsitute father who who she learnt Russian from. Her life long love of Russian culture and language began.

Karrik died in 1943, Three years after the German invasion of neutral Norway, and Gunvor transfered to a nursing job in the Arctic town of Bodø to get away from her loss of Karrik. Ironically there were  many Russians in Northern Norway at this point in history, prisoners of war serving under harsh conditions.  One of them was Vladimir Kozlov, who was doing slave labour at  a fish fillet factory in town. He got his face injured and got bandaged at the hospital. Gunvor and Vladimir spoke Russian together and got on very well. When his bandages was removed Gunvor blurted out: "Good God, how beautiful you are!" Vladimir also found the blonde nurse very pretty. Because food production was an industry of litterlly vital importance during the war, the Russians at the factory served under better conditions than most Russian POWs in the region who's lives were brutal and short. Vladimir was able secretly visit her at home after he was discharged from the hospital. As he was leaving he tripped on the door frame and fell into her arms. They kissed. The nurse and the prisoner of war were in love. This had to be a secret, if they were discovered the consequences would be serious and probably deadly for him.

Vladimir dreamt of freedom, and when he was transfered to a POW camp closer to neutral Sweden he got his chance. The prisoners lived on local farms and the farmer was a patriot who was willing to help Vladimir escape. Gunvor was also in on the plan and she visted the last night before he ran off. She put "The dying swan" from  Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake on the gramaphone and danced for him. When he was about to leave they kissed and Gunvor whispered "Snipp, snapp, snute, så var eventyret ute" ( ….then the fairytale was over"), the traditional ending to Norwegian fairytales. he gave her a note with his parents' Leningrad address. Then he walked into the night to cross the mountains to freedom in Sweden.

When the war ended all Soviet citizens who had been in contact with foreigners were seen as suspect by Stalin's paranoid and brutal regime, even POWs. Most went almost directly from Hitler's POW camps to Stalin's GULag camps, many even died there. Vladimir was released in 1947.

Gunvor Galtung Haavik speaking to freed Russian prisoner shortly after the war.


Gunvor was also involved in sending Russian prisoners back to the USSR asa nurse and interpreter.
Because of her efforts with the POW Gunvor was offered a job as a secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Oslo in 1946. Her first assignment was as an interpreter for a group of officials settling the border between Norway and the USSR. This gave her the chance to search for  Vladimir, and she found him in Leningrad in 1947. Vladimir understood how dangerous any such contact was, so she warned her against an affair. "What can we do about it, volodtisjik?" This was her pet name for Vladimir. "I've fallen in love with you, there is nothing to be done about it." When her work with the border commision was over she had to return to Norway. It was unlikely to ever meet again. Vladimir went to the police and asked for permition for them to exchange letters. The police said yes.

A screenshot from a film about Gunvor Galtung Haavik's life.

The same year Gunvor returned to the Soviet Union as secretary in the embassy in Moscow, in effect their interpreter. An officer of the KGB contacted Vladimir. Since most of the personel in Soviet embassies worked for the KGB or GRU they assumed Gunvor Galtung Haavik really worked for some western secret service. In their paranoid minds Vladimir had to be a spy too, and the only way he could prove his innocence was to work for them. Vladimir was married and had children at this point, but he started meeting Gunvor again. The KGB supplied an apartment. Gunvor didn't tell her superiors about the affair.  Pavljuk, the Russian driver who worked at the embassy, helpfully handled the letters Gunvor and Vladmir wrote to each other. After two years he broke cover to Gunvor and  told her he worked for the KGB and blackmailed her to become their agent. "You know your friend is on thin ice? You may never see him again." Gunvor broke and signed a document saying she was now working for the KGB. She told later Vladimir. She was solely motivated by love, not ideology. "The iron curtain is very much a reality." she wrote on one of her letters, "All the pretty talk about how you wish to live in friendship with peaceful neighbours are just empty words."

Vladimir Kozlov as an old man

In the following 27 years she handed the KGB countless secret documents. The reward was getting to meet Vladimir from time to time in the KGB-financed appartment. In 1962 a Soviet defector named Anatolij Golitsyn told his interrogators about one of their spies.He didn't know the name, but the secretary of the Norwegian ambassador in Moscow was working for the KGB. His information wasn't up to date.  didn't know was that Haavik had been trasfered back to Norway in 1955. Her replacement, a  Ingeborg Lygren, got arrested for espionage instead. Lygren was actually working for Norwegian military inteligence and the CIA, looking after dead drop «mail boxes» all over Moscow. She got arrested for treason and espionage for the USSR, but she was realeased after a long investigation because of insufficient proof. The public and the counter-inteligence service remained convinced she was a traitor for many years, but her employers in military inteligence belived her.

Ingeborg Lygren - a spy, but no traitor.

When Gunvor Galtung Haavik was transfered back to Oslo back in 1955 she never saw Vladimir again. Perhaps she belived she at least was free of the KGB, but after two years later they contacted her again. We can assume Vladimir's welfare and possibly her hope of getting in contact with him again was used to put pressure on her. She never got in contact with the love of her life, but because of him she did meet the KGB 190 times to bring them secret documents. Gunvor was on her way to such a meeting when she was arrested in 1977. By then she had been a spy for 27 years, as far as we know no Norwegian has ever spied on us for that long. Gunvor confessed and cooperated with the police, but she died in her prison cell a short time before her trial started. The coroner ruled it a heart attack, but there has always been doubts. Did the KGB kill her?

I don't think I'm alone in thinking of a certain person when reading this story.

Last edited by Number24 (1st May 2020 09:09)