DELARANEWS

Guest article

Arnal Cook, N9ACC [Editor’s note: longer-term members will remember Arnal, who was a sparkplug for the Union County club for a number of years before he relocated. Arnal has a long military history, and enjoys researching interesting ‘communications related’ items. I was fortunate to receive this recently. Arnal says, “I was a Naval pilot (SH-3 and UC-12) 1980-1992, and a Ham (and FCC 1st Class Commercial) before I went in. Call sign "Marconi" for actually knowing Morse Code, and other radio knowledge. (See FEB 1982 73 Magazine under N9AKX.) Spent some Reserve time with a MIUW Unit. Recalled in 2006 for "6 months" that was stretched to 42 months back on Active Duty, including a one year extension beyond my mandatory retirement date! I was one of only four Officers sitting the 24-7 Battle Watch Captain (BWC) seat, senior officer on deck in the Navy Operations Center, Pentagon, direct line to the Chief of Naval Operations, even at home. As senior Navy Watch Officer on deck as BWC, also the Navy liaison to the Joint Chiefs of Staff Deputy Director of Operations. Four days or nights on, then the other team of two came in for four days/nights. I have a working pair of PRC-77s modified for carrier squelch. Good thing, too. Got to operate them with a BC-1000 one day in small-town, Ohio down on 43 MHz. Two miles on the 10 ft whips at ground level.”]

Colonel Hogan meets The Great Escape

We all know the late '60's TV show Hogan's Heroes was somebody's imagination. But, in many unbelievable situations, there is a 'Colonel' of truth. From the book I am reading, Most Secret War by R. V. Jones, comes this. RV Jones was the young PhD hired by the British government to bring some "science" to their War effort and analysis of what the Germans were doing with their science. Quickly, he was heavily involved in the "Battle of the Beams", the German use of radio beams (where they crossed) to pinpoint their targets at night accurately. He figured out the "what," "why," and "how" of the beams and and how to jam or 'pull' the beams off course. He was one of the few in on the Enigma decodes, unable to tell anyone why he was having them (the radio/radar monitoring service, or even why he was requesting specific and high-risk to the pilots of photo recon missions) look for X or need to photograph an 'anti-aircraft gun' placement - right down their sites! (It was a (new) radar site, but he couldn't tell them how he knew what it was. He just needed a picture of 'it.') To get some important information, one of 'his' Top Secret cleared (but not Enigma) Lab Assistants (Cundall) volunteered to ride a night bombing mission to get some critical SIGINT on German radars to figure how it worked in the German Night Defenses. The plane was shot down, all bailed out. ONE crew member made good his escape, so the Germans did not know they had 'one extra' crew to arouse their suspicions. Pg 265, note the Stalag # (and see further below) "... While in Stalag Luft 3 he not only concealed his knowledge of our new radar devices, but built a radio transmitter with which he opened contact between camp and London, maintaining it even during the long march eastwards as the Germans pulled back the prisoners in the late stages of the war. In this way he provided information from captured air crew regarding their experiences with the German night defenses, and thus aided our offensive even from behind the barbed wire." For those who don't know, I grew up close enough to Ft. Hunt (now a Park) in Alexandria, Virginia for it to be my play ground. Turns out there were multiple ultra secret operations going on there in WW II. So many aircrew were being shot down, they were teaching many how to write secret messages in their letters home. They were also building and shipping stuff (like radio receivers built into Mumbly Peg boards, maps, German money, cameras, film) under food stuffs (like 7 chocolate bars, or cans of condensed milk, or cigarettes) to bribe the German Inspectors with. They had to create two 'Good Samaritan' organizations to send this stuff through the Red Cross and Switzerland. They were SO successful they feared the POWs would be shot as spies with all those cameras, film, maps, and German money! Nobody knew that 50 years later (~1992). A visitor on a tour there one day said "and right over there was ....." The Park Service thought he was lying, but they ran into a stone wall of silence from the Army. It took a bit, but after 50 years, they got it declassified, but also had to get new letters of authorization to each surviving member to talk about it, because not one would!! So, as I said, a 'Colonel' of truth.... From the Ft. Hunt link, note the name of the Stalag: From https://www.nps.gov/articles/forthuntww2.htm "The Escape and Evasion Program "Even more secret than the strategic interrogation program was Fort Hunt’s escape and evasion (E&E) program (MIS_X). Even the fort’s commandant was unaware of this mission to prepare U.S. servicemen to evade capture by the enemy and, if captured, to escape. This was particularly crucial for the Army Air Force. The Eighth Army Air Force flew daylight bombing raids over Nazi-controlled Europe and Germany itself, a hazardous undertaking in which numerous planes were shot down and survivors captured. "The British had already discovered the need for such a program, having started such bombing before America entered the war. The P.O. Box 1142 program was modeled on the British one and began operations in February 1943. The nerve center of this program was located in the renovated old post hospital, the site of the current Picnic Pavilion A. " One mission of the E&E program was to create maps of areas where bombers were going so downed airmen could use them to find their way back. Silk maps created at P.O. Box 1142 were distributed to the Air Force for that use. Also, 5 million uniform buttons were created containing hidden compasses. " Codes created to enable captured airmen to communicate with P.O. Box 1142 were taught to selected airmen known as “code users” or “CU.” If captured, the CUs would send letters home to fictitious addresses, which the Post Office knew to send to P.O. Box 1142. The 14 cryptologists in the E&E program would decode the messages and send them through the chain of command. The information transfer was both to aid in escape activities and to convey to the U.S. military the intelligence that the prisoners gleaned in captivity. " The E&E program created two fictitious prisoner relief organizations and used their names to send care packages to the POW camps. But those packages were a cover for smuggling escape and evasion materials into the camps. Letters to the CUs in the camps would inform them in advance of the incoming packages. The E&E program succeeded in hiding compasses, tissue paper maps, counterfeit German currency, radios and similar items in those packages. By 1944, the E&E program was sending between 80 and 120 packages each day to German POW camps. " American companies were enlisted secretly to assist in this effort. For example, an electronics manufacturer made the four components of a specially designed miniature radio transmitter, placing each component in a separate capsule. The capsules were then shipped to a baseball manufacturer that wound each capsule into a color-coded baseball. At the prison camps, the components were extracted and assembled into transmitters. Another company inserted map segments between special peel-away outer layers in playing cards. Another donated cartons of cigarettes in which crystal radio receivers were hidden. "In March 1944, 76 Allied POWs escaped from the North Compound of Stalag Luft III through one of the three long and deep tunnels that they had dug. For five months prior to the breakout, MIS-X had been sending escape aids to the camp. All but three of the escapees were captured, and Hitler had 50 of them put to death. None of the escapees were Americans, as they had all been transferred to the South Compound eight weeks before the escape. One and a half million German troops were diverted to catch the escapees. The 1963 movie “The Great Escape” chronicled this escape. "During the war, the Germans captured 95,532 U.S. servicemen. Of those 737 escaped. It is not known how many managed to evade capture due to the E&E program. While the number of escapees was not large, the E&E program contributed to the morale of U.S. airmen sent on dangerous missions over enemy territory and of those captured. "
DELARANews

Guest article

Arnal Cook, N9ACC [Editor’s note: longer-term members will remember Arnal, who was a sparkplug for the Union County club for a number of years before he relocated. Arnal has a long military history, and enjoys researching interesting ‘communications related’ items. I was fortunate to receive this recently. Arnal says, “I was a Naval pilot (SH-3 and UC-12) 1980- 1992, and a Ham (and FCC 1st Class Commercial) before I went in. Call sign "Marconi" for actually knowing Morse Code, and other radio knowledge. (See FEB 1982 73 Magazine under N9AKX.) Spent some Reserve time with a MIUW Unit. Recalled in 2006 for "6 months" that was stretched to 42 months back on Active Duty, including a one year extension beyond my mandatory retirement date! I was one of only four Officers sitting the 24-7 Battle Watch Captain (BWC) seat, senior officer on deck in the Navy Operations Center, Pentagon, direct line to the Chief of Naval Operations, even at home. As senior Navy Watch Officer on deck as BWC, also the Navy liaison to the Joint Chiefs of Staff Deputy Director of Operations. Four days or nights on, then the other team of two came in for four days/nights. I have a working pair of PRC-77s modified for carrier squelch. Good thing, too. Got to operate them with a BC-1000 one day in small-town, Ohio down on 43 MHz. Two miles on the 10 ft whips at ground level.”]

Colonel Hogan meets The Great

Escape

We all know the late '60's TV show Hogan's Heroes was somebody's imagination. But, in many unbelievable situations, there is a 'Colonel' of truth. From the book I am reading, Most Secret War by R. V. Jones, comes this. RV Jones was the young PhD hired by the British government to bring some "science" to their War effort and analysis of what the Germans were doing with their science. Quickly, he was heavily involved in the "Battle of the Beams", the German use of radio beams (where they crossed) to pinpoint their targets at night accurately. He figured out the "what," "why," and "how" of the beams and and how to jam or 'pull' the beams off course. He was one of the few in on the Enigma decodes, unable to tell anyone why he was having them (the radio/radar monitoring service, or even why he was requesting specific and high-risk to the pilots of photo recon missions) look for X or need to photograph an 'anti-aircraft gun' placement - right down their sites! (It was a (new) radar site, but he couldn't tell them how he knew what it was. He just needed a picture of 'it.') To get some important information, one of 'his' Top Secret cleared (but not Enigma) Lab Assistants (Cundall) volunteered to ride a night bombing mission to get some critical SIGINT on German radars to figure how it worked in the German Night Defenses. The plane was shot down, all bailed out. ONE crew member made good his escape, so the Germans did not know they had 'one extra' crew to arouse their suspicions. Pg 265, note the Stalag # (and see further below) "... While in Stalag Luft 3 he not only concealed his knowledge of our new radar devices, but built a radio transmitter with which he opened contact between camp and London, maintaining it even during the long march eastwards as the Germans pulled back the prisoners in the late stages of the war. In this way he provided information from captured air crew regarding their experiences with the German night defenses, and thus aided our offensive even from behind the barbed wire." For those who don't know, I grew up close enough to Ft. Hunt (now a Park) in Alexandria, Virginia for it to be my play ground. Turns out there were multiple ultra secret operations going on there in WW II. So many aircrew were being shot down, they were teaching many how to write secret messages in their letters home. They were also building and shipping stuff (like radio receivers built into Mumbly Peg boards, maps, German money, cameras, film) under food stuffs (like 7 chocolate bars, or cans of condensed milk, or cigarettes) to bribe the German Inspectors with. They had to create two 'Good Samaritan' organizations to send this stuff through the Red Cross and Switzerland. They were SO successful they feared the POWs would be shot as spies with all those cameras, film, maps, and German money! Nobody knew that 50 years later (~1992). A visitor on a tour there one day said "and right over there was ....." The Park Service thought he was lying, but they ran into a stone wall of silence from the Army. It took a bit, but after 50 years, they got it declassified, but also had to get new letters of authorization to each surviving member to talk about it, because not one would!! So, as I said, a 'Colonel' of truth.... From the Ft. Hunt link, note the name of the Stalag: From https://www.nps.gov/articles/forthuntww2.htm "The Escape and Evasion Program "Even more secret than the strategic interrogation program was Fort Hunt’s escape and evasion (E&E) program (MIS_X). Even the fort’s commandant was unaware of this mission to prepare U.S. servicemen to evade capture by the enemy and, if captured, to escape. This was particularly crucial for the Army Air Force. The Eighth Army Air Force flew daylight bombing raids over Nazi-controlled Europe and Germany itself, a hazardous undertaking in which numerous planes were shot down and survivors captured. "The British had already discovered the need for such a program, having started such bombing before America entered the war. The P.O. Box 1142 program was modeled on the British one and began operations in February 1943. The nerve center of this program was located in the renovated old post hospital, the site of the current Picnic Pavilion A. " One mission of the E&E program was to create maps of areas where bombers were going so downed airmen could use them to find their way back. Silk maps created at P.O. Box 1142 were distributed to the Air Force for that use. Also, 5 million uniform buttons were created containing hidden compasses. " Codes created to enable captured airmen to communicate with P.O. Box 1142 were taught to selected airmen known as “code users” or “CU.” If captured, the CUs would send letters home to fictitious addresses, which the Post Office knew to send to P.O. Box 1142. The 14 cryptologists in the E&E program would decode the messages and send them through the chain of command. The information transfer was both to aid in escape activities and to convey to the U.S. military the intelligence that the prisoners gleaned in captivity. " The E&E program created two fictitious prisoner relief organizations and used their names to send care packages to the POW camps. But those packages were a cover for smuggling escape and evasion materials into the camps. Letters to the CUs in the camps would inform them in advance of the incoming packages. The E&E program succeeded in hiding compasses, tissue paper maps, counterfeit German currency, radios and similar items in those packages. By 1944, the E&E program was sending between 80 and 120 packages each day to German POW camps. " American companies were enlisted secretly to assist in this effort. For example, an electronics manufacturer made the four components of a specially designed miniature radio transmitter, placing each component in a separate capsule. The capsules were then shipped to a baseball manufacturer that wound each capsule into a color- coded baseball. At the prison camps, the components were extracted and assembled into transmitters. Another company inserted map segments between special peel-away outer layers in playing cards. Another donated cartons of cigarettes in which crystal radio receivers were hidden. "In March 1944, 76 Allied POWs escaped from the North Compound of Stalag Luft III through one of the three long and deep tunnels that they had dug. For five months prior to the breakout, MIS-X had been sending escape aids to the camp. All but three of the escapees were captured, and Hitler had 50 of them put to death. None of the escapees were Americans, as they had all been transferred to the South Compound eight weeks before the escape. One and a half million German troops were diverted to catch the escapees. The 1963 movie “The Great Escape” chronicled this escape. "During the war, the Germans captured 95,532 U.S. servicemen. Of those 737 escaped. It is not known how many managed to evade capture due to the E&E program. While the number of escapees was not large, the E&E program contributed to the morale of U.S. airmen sent on dangerous missions over enemy territory and of those captured. "