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The Germans could actually spy

Discussion in 'What If - European Theater - Western Front & Atlan' started by T. A. Gardner, Jun 15, 2010.

  1. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    Historically, Germany was pathetically bad in the spy game. All their agents in Britain were caught and either turned or hung. The one attempt the Germans made to land agents in the US turned out as a tragi-comedy with all being caught within weeks of landing.

    But, what if the Germans had spy rings more like the Soviets seem to manage to get? That is, they have deep moles and effective spys that don't readily get caught. Here are some of the possibilities from this:

    The Germans know about the Normandy landings and other landings are are better prepared to meet them. This doesn't necessarily mean they change the outcome of the battle but, they do give the Allies far more casualties and a tougher fight.

    Spys in Britain and the US create sabotage of critical production in sophisticated and subtile ways. For example a mole might have contaminated basic materials for making vacuum tubes say at an RCA plant in the US. The tubes fail rapidly after being put in service making equipment they are used in highly unreliable.
    Or, a spy blows up one or another explosives plants in Britain or the US.

    Sabotage and far better intelligence might have been a great help to Germany. As it was Germany's spys contributed nothing to that nation's war efforts and may have materially hurt them in the case of turned agents and swallowing phoney planted information.
     
  2. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    Have the Germans find out about ULTRA and you remove one nearly decisive advantage from the allied arsenal. Good thing they were so bad.
     
  3. freebird

    freebird Member

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    The covert operations could actually be much more effective in Latin America than attempts at sabotage in the USA.

    Even if they didn't have better spies, even a much more careful approach to information sent (on Enigma for example) would help. They shouldn't have been so confident that it couldn't be broken.
     
  4. efestos

    efestos Member

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    If GARBO wouldn´t have been a double agent, so a loyal nazi spy , the nazis would have known where actually the V1 and V2 dropped.

    Garbo got the Iron cross and the MBE

    I guess he wouldn't have been able to know the actual landings in Normandy.
     
  5. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    HF/DF would have become a bust making tracking down U-boats far harder...

    Movement and plans of the Wehrmacht would have been harder to track.


    Also, some Allied movements that went unnoticed like the US landings for Torch. If a spy had sailing information on this fleet the Germans could have had more U-boats waiting and made casualties much higher.

    Even knowledge that the Japanese were going to war and wouldn't attack Russia would have been valuable information. Germany might have not declared on the US forcing the US into a Hobson's choice about going to war with Germany or just fighting the Japanese.
     
  6. sniper1946

    sniper1946 Expert

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  7. Chef des Todes

    Chef des Todes Flight Medic

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  8. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    Well, I don't know how "great" it was, but they were (supposedly) knowledgable on the Soviet Union and had been spying on them during the war. Sadly, it developed that they themselves had been turned and/or were for the most part doing the bidding of the Soviets.

    They were only kept on as the "cold war" developed, if that hadn't come to pass it is unlikely they would have been able to deal themselves "out of the court system".

    Their avoiding the judgment of the world was as "questionable" as our (USA) making a deal with the top-dogs from Unit 731 in Japan. In order to not fall behind the Soviets in bio-chemical warfare, we allowed too many of them to escape justice. There were about 25 or 30 who were tried for their crimes, a few hanged, a few given lengthy prison terms, and a few aquitted. But not enough of them were brought to trial to my mind.
     
  9. Chef des Todes

    Chef des Todes Flight Medic

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    O no I ment that they employed 200 criminals, I just think thats funny
     
  10. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    Funny yes. Typical yes. Seems alot of their wartime spys were really pretty questionable people too..... that is, the ones that weren't straight out incompetent.. no, that's not completely true either.... many were questionable and incomptetent!
     
  11. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    No news there, just google "Reinhard Gehlen" for the best known example.
     
  12. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    Some of the other "wtf were they thinking?!" ones included"

    Lieutenant Dr. Hermann Görtz: Parachuted into Ireland to spy on RAF airfields. Landed in German military uniform. He was eventually arrested by the Irish goverment and sentenced to three years in prison.

    Or, the four who landed in England from a trawler whose crew consisted of Scandinavians and a Russian... all drunk by most accounts.... These four consisted of two Dutchmen, one half-Japanese and neither of which spoke more than a few words of english with the other two being a German who spoke French but no English and another man claiming to be Dutch who of the four was the only one who could speak English.
    All four were caught in less than 48 hours and eventually hung for being spys.

    The ones landed in the US (eight or nine in all) were equally inept. One of the two parties was spotted on the beach by a Coast Guard sentry who they tried to buy his silence with a large sum of money. He reported the incident. From there it went down hill.
     
  13. Wiley Hyena

    Wiley Hyena Member

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    T.A., Germany had a decent intel establishment during the war. So decent in fact that OSS/soon to be CIA made it a priority to recruit the Nazi spy apparatus for the fight against communism in continental Europe...especially Italy...where it won.

    But, on this subject there is a fascinating chapter in intelligence regarding the Russian spy known to history as "Sasha". He is the pre-ultimate Russian spy and a basis for much of what is written about what spies should be (along with cold war CIA counterintelligence chief James Jesus Angleton). IN WWII Sasha parachuted into Germany under the pretext that he was a defecting intelligence agent of the USSR. The Germans bought it and he became an intelligence agent for the Germans, where he established his bona fides by "uncovering" a number of alleged Russian double agents in Germany, most of which were actually working for the anti-Bolshevic White Russians. The story from there eventually ends with Sasha's moving to USA as a Nazi intel asset, and penetrating the CIA. Unreal. I would encourage anybody interested in cold war intelligence to read up on this. :)
     
  14. redcoat

    redcoat Ace

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    Garbo was an interesting case, an ardent anti-Nazi he had offered his services to the British secret service in Portugal but they turned him down, so he started making up info he claimed he had gotten off contacts in Britain and started selling it to the Nazis. The British found out about the info he was selling to the Nazis and fearing he might actually have real contacts within Britain decided to kidnap him.
    When they did, they found out his whole network was a figment of his imagination gained just from reading the international newspapers, but the British were so impressed with his skill at fooling the Germans, they recruited him to work as a double agent for them, taking him to Britain and setting him up as the head of a whole network of spies
     
  15. Mark4

    Mark4 Ace

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    I read that on the eve of the Normandy landings the Germans captured a french resistance fighter and was interrogated by the abwher and he spelled the beans saying that the invasion will start when the allied radio starts playing a poem.
     
  16. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    you might try and look into the German LW KG 200 and it's agent dropping behind the lines, a very effective LW unit.
     
  17. Carl W Schwamberger

    Carl W Schwamberger Ace

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    Not one but two staff officers from the US 5th & 7th Corps are suposed to have been killed carrying copies of the their corps part of the Neptune plan ashore on 6 June. In both cases the documents were found & in In the hands of the 7th Army commander by nightfall of 7 June. If true this should have blown the entire Fortitude deception operation, but it seems the commanders above the 7th Army did not believe the evidence.

    Its a interesting story & I hope to positively confirm or debunk it.
     
  18. Carl W Schwamberger

    Carl W Schwamberger Ace

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    Allied intelligence staff would have had to pay more attention to other sources. Many of them like Mockler-Ferryman mad to great a reliance on Enigma decrypts, & neglected other techniques. The US 1st Army HQ first ignored the OSS detachment sent to it in September 1944, the ordered it out of the HQ in October. Relying largely on ULTRA and neglecting ordinary reconissance, other signal intel, PoW interrogation... judged the Germans to not preparing for a offensive, right up to December 15th.


    The German did know large convoys were departing the UK. What they also knew was that they had several previous warnings for a landing on the French coast. In late October they deployed the SS corps that had been forming up in France to the Normandy/Britiany area & other reserves. The Torch convoys carrying a Brit & a US Corps steamed right past the Biscay Bay & the submarine bases with hardly a scratch. When Sledgehammer was canceled its plans were used by the Brit deception operations to camoflage Torch
     
  19. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

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    Actually, "West German" intelligence before 1956 was Gehlen's "Geheimes Organisation"....it merely morphed into the BND ;) One of Gehlen's most tradeable assets was the huge pile of files on Soviet agents and sympathisers in Western Europe he managed to bury in 1945; it both formed the basis pf the GO's few years of operations AND ensured that as a "useful chap" he'd never be brought to book!
     

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