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US Counter Intelligence Corps

Discussion in 'The Secret War: Resistance and Espionage During WW' started by Publius, May 6, 2020.

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Are you interested in further information about the CIC? (If yes, I'll poll as to what next)

  1. Yes

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  2. No

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  1. Publius

    Publius New Member

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    This is largely based upon the official history of the US Counter Intelligence Corps in World War II, which is freely available from the Ike Skelton Combined Arms Research Library online collection (landing page, but you can download the PDF from here). It's been a bit since I read this (about 18 months or so) and I made the grave error of not committing much of my material at the time to writing, but here's a brief summary. I can likely be prevailed upon to expand it if anyone is interested.

    The World War II US Army's Counter-Intelligence Corps (CIC) was largely a successor to the World War I Counter Intelligence Police (CIP) and as such was, in many ways, more of a field security organization than a counter-intelligence agency (such as the British XX Committee and Security Service aka MI-5). The original CIP was drawn down to 16 personnel following the end of the First World War, resulting in a known capability gap for the US Army as it prepared for World War II. Substantial increases in personnel began in June of 1940 in the expectation of hostilities and continued throughout the war.

    The Corps of Intelligence Police was renamed to Counter Intelligence Corps effective 1 January, 1942. Planned deployment for the corps was detachment from the corps to Army operational and administrative formations in need of counter-intelligence support down to the division level. A great deal of the history is devoted to organizational, administrative, and training topics I'm not sure are of general interest. I'd be happy to document these in another post if anyone is interested.

    Initially, the Corps operated in both operational areas and at home, early in the war, the decision was made to focus the Corps on operational activity in the theaters of war, while the FBI focused on Western Hemisphere counter-intelligence generally, and a division of the Provost Marshal in AGF (and its predecessors) focused on security in the Zone of the Interior directly tied to army installations.

    CIC operations in North Africa focused on acquiring the necessary information to conduct security and counter-intelligence operations, with a great focus on document seizure, which produced good results. In this campaign, the Corps committed to operating at the front with combat formations in order to gain access to necessary documents and personnel immediately. This remained a commitment of the Corps throughout the war and continued to support operational success. Following the occupation, the CIC shifted towards more traditional security and counter-intelligence operations to prevent sabotage targeting US military materiel and espionage against US military operations. This first campaign highlighted the need for linguistic capabilities in the Corps and led to a number of experiments, none of which ultimately proved satisfactory (see below for lessons learned from the history).

    Much of the operational history focuses on CIC operations in Sicily and Italy, which were quite successful and resulted in the apprehension of large numbers of German and Italian agents dispatched to penetrate allied lines and makes much of the CIC's ability to predict penetration operations. Not to detract from the CIC's achievements, but see my comments at the bottom for discussion of possible advantages CIC possessed that aren't discussed in this official history. CIC's document capture operations establishment of agent nets in captured (and later liberated) areas made its detachments valuable to G-2s up and down the chain of command, acting as an intelligence field force more generally than just as a counter-intelligence organization.

    CIC also operated more of a field security role in the Middle East early in the war working closely with the British Army's SIME (acronym isn't broken out in the history) though it notes that the British Army equivalent of the CIC was properly their Field Security Service.

    In the Liberation of France and the Low Countries, some problems experienced in Sicily and Italy with the CIC's expanded role were addressed. Notably, CIC detachments in tactical formations were augmented by CIC personnel from the army level. In addition, since Army doctrine dictated the depth of control exercised by tactical formations behind the front line, this had resulted in turnover of counter-intelligence control of population centers from division CIC detachments (who first established control over the areas) to corps and then to army level detachments. This proved cumbersome and resulted in investigations being interrupted, so it was decided to send specially designated army level CIC elements attached to the division level to maintain control of important population centers until they were ultimately transferred to a zone of occupation.

    German intelligence and sabotage operations in France the Low Countries appear to have been poorly prepared as the CIC history says that most of their associates either fled or were rounded up by French police or resistance. Therefore, while the Corps appears to have been very successful, it's hard to evaluate how they would have fared against a more committed enemy.

    In Germany, the Corps' primary objective was to destroy the Werewolf organization and, secondarily, to round up German personnel of interest (NAZI party officials, Abwehr officers, SS personnel) and the CIC's agents found significant aid from local informants. The history provides no clarification as to the motivation of these informants (ideological, monetary, etc...). It's maddeningly vague about combating Werewolf particularly for some reason.

    CIC's operations in the CBI theater also included being tasked with supervision of document security, after G-2 personnel proved to be insufficiently security minded. There was also quite a bit of field work on assessing lines of communication security.

    Above, I have sought to hew close to the official history. Below are some remarks from my own perspective.

    Given that the history was published in the 1940s, little mention of liaison is discussed and no discussion of ULTRA as a source occurs. My suspicion is that the combination of James Jesus Angleton as OSS G-2X (counter-intelligence) in Italy with the ULTRA source contributed. This should not be regarded as detracting from the CIC's successes, but should be seen in the context of intelligence that likely gave them the ability to achieve operational success.

    It's unfortunate that there's not greater information about combating the Werewolf organization in Germany. This may be due to sensitivities related to the establishment of the Gehlen Organization (and later the BND) related to this.

    Overall, the Germans don't come across as particularly good at or dedicated to human agent intelligence or sabotage operations. It's unclear to what extent this is due to the Abwehr's lackluster commitment to the war in the West, failure to properly employ German assets (such as the Brandenbergers) or lack of planning by German strategic and operational commanders to establish stay behind intelligence and sabotage networks in occupied territory. The CIC did well, but it's not clear if they would have done as well as they did had they been tested more.

    From an organizational note, it's important to keep in mind attached units of specialists from GHQ augmented Army tactical formations.

    If there's interest, this document points to a number of US Army TO&E and TM documents I can also summarize. There's a lessons learned document proper that I will summarize for my own interest which will also include some notes for modellers and artists.

    I think this on the war game side, these sorts of operations have generally been neglected because they both happened in the shadows and are generally hard to model in game formats. On the model wargaming side, this offers some interesting options for game scenarios (such as assigning a combat formation to escort a CIC outfit to occupy a center of communications, enemy HQ, or establish control of a population center).
     

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  2. Powerhouse

    Powerhouse Member

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    I'm particullary interested by CIC dtch attached to combat units (especially with armored division).
    Composition, equipments, missions,....
     
  3. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    There's a book called One Hundred Years of the Naval Investigative Service.
     
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  4. Publius

    Publius New Member

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    Sure, though this is a bit preliminary as I'd like to go and see if I can learn more from with some additional digging. Thanks for asking this, by the way, as it pushed me to locate a resource I had read previously but couldn't find (either on my computer or on The Internet). Thanks to some memory prompting from a master's thesis on DTIC, I found out that it had been released by CIA rather than the Army, and so was available in their reading room. Links to additional resources used are at the bottom.


    Organization ​

    The initial plan was to have 1 officer and 5 enlisted (I'm reading this as primarily agents or special agents*) assigned to division level formations. This is in the history I cited in the original post and also referenced in Maj. Dalla's thesis.

    However, that proved unsatisfactory so, as the Army developed experience (there was little doctrine on CIC operations), they settled on a formulation for rather more personnel: two officers (one captain and one lieutenant) and between four and 18 agents or special agents (enlisted field agents: the distinction had to do with qualification and, to a certain extent, rank). This final organization was larger than the pre-war planned CIC detachment for a corps. It looks like it was an operations team B-2 from the TO&E with a few additional agents or special agents.

    I've not seen any notes about differing organizations for different types of combat divisions (i.e. armor v. infantry) with the exception of a few notes about specific requirements for supporting airborne operations by airborne divisions.

    It's important to note that, in the ETO following OVERLORD, higher level (corps and army) CIC elements were attached to division CIC detachments in order to ease the establishment of control over, and transfer of control of major population centers. So you might find detachments from army group, army, or corps levels operating in divisional areas in conjunction with the divisional CIC detachment.

    Notably, from what I've seen from TO&E 30-500 (which was a reorganization intended for occupation duty in Germany) the detachment structure noted for divisions in the Organization and Operations of the CIC in the ETO (henceforth "the O&O") doesn't appear to be contemplated and is a compromise between the doctrinal TO&E and available, qualified personnel (the O&O consistently laments the lack of both adequate personnel and adequate skills, particularly relevant linguistic skills).

    * The distinction between special agents and agents was largely academic. Ostensibly special agents had all the requisite skills for counter intelligence work while an agent was believed to possess the potential to gain all of the necessary skills. In reality, any agent who was promoted to Staff Sergeant was automatically designated a special agent.

    Duties ​

    The O&O lists the following duties in forward combat areas (i.e. divisional zones of control).

    Primary duties were to secure:
    1. Known and suspect enemy agents
    2. Known enemy collaborators, sympathizers, and other persons whose presence menaced security of allied forces
    3. Offices formerly occuped by the enemy intelligence services or enemy police organizations and any documents they contained.
    4. Offices of local semi-military organizations and collaborationist bodies and their records.
    5. Centers of communication
    6. Buildings, billets, and installations known or suspected to contain documents of counter-intelligence value.

    Secondary duties were to secure:
    1. Making security checks in cooperation with the Military Police who are marshalling refugees and other civilians arriving from enemy occupied territory.
    2. Contacting local authorities and persons known to be friendly to the allied cause in order to secure all possible counter-intelligence. (Publius note: first step in establishing an source network).
    3. Advising upon and assisting in securing against sabotage all private and public installations the continued operation of which are essential to the allied forces. (Publius note: this occupied a significant amount of CIC time in the CBI but not the ETO from what I've seen so far)
    4. Checking upon the observance by the civilian population of all security provisions contained in the proclamations and orders issued by Civil Affairs detachments.
    5. Assisting in the discovery and collection of any hidden armaments or equipment which have not been surrendered or reported in accordance with ordinances. (Publius note: Close cooperation with the AMG was noted as particularly important in Italy and Sicily)
    6. The seizure of civil communications and arranging for their protection against sabotage until taken over by authorized Signal Communications personnel as provided in operational orders. The records of such installations are of prime importance and should be secured, guarded, and turned over to the proper authorities.
    7. Seizing and impounding all civilian and captured enemy mail.
    8. Advising on the immediate establishment of guards at all captured ordinance and ammunition dumps, especially those which may be accessible to the local population.
    9. Stopping publication of newspapers and other periodicals.
    10. Taking measures necessary to prevent looting and destruction of enemy documents and materiel held by our own troops.
    11. Transmitting to Civil Affairs, Provost Marshal, and Military Police personnel all information on matters within their purview, such as civilian controls, adequacy and extent of cooperation of civil police and the extent of disorder, looting, and sabotage.

    There are additional duties lists for investigation, evacuation or withdrawal, miscellaneous duties, and additional duties for operations in Germany I can add if you'd like.

    Equipment ​

    In terms of equipment, by TO&E, the CIC was equipped with some light weapons and a lot of mission specific gear (cameras, fingerprint kits, monitoring gear, etc...). According to the history and the O&O, they found most of this gear to be superfluous with the exception of cameras. They found their motor equipment to be adequate and lacked field logistic equipment and communications gear which they had to make up for by borrowing from other formations (generators, field stoves, etc...).

    CIC detachments were authorized up to one non-standard car per detachment upon authorization by theater commander but I don't have any information at the moment as to how often this was authorized or to the extent that it was done without authorization. Motor equipment was at about the rate of one jeep for every two officers, special agents, or agents.

    Attached is a list of additional equipment requested by CIC detachments in the ETO during the General Board's survey at the end of the war. Notably, since you're interested in armored formations in particular, the CIC detachment for 8th Armored specifically requested adding an M-8 armored car to their TO&E.

    In terms of arms, CIC officers, special agents, and agents received training in firing the .38 caliber revolver, .45 ACP service pistol, and .30 cal M-1 carbine. The M1 Thompson submachine gun is noted in the TO&E. The TO&E notes a 1:1:2 ratio of Tompsons to M-1 carbines to men. Additionally, M-1 rifles could be substituted for the carbines.

    I haven't gone digging through very many WWII TO&Es, so the following may not be unusual but looked interesting to me.

    • A compass for every man on the team with an alidade for the team.
    • Binoculars for every man on the team (type M3, 6 x 30 or equivalent).
    • A 15 jewel or more pocket watch for every officer and 7 jewel wrist watch for every enlisted agent or special agent.

    In terms of uniforms, the O&O noted that civilian clothes were authorized in the ETO but often weren't appropriate but that there was a disadvantage to officers, special agents, and agents wearing rank insignia as they often exercised authority far beyond their rank. As a result, they tended to wear the uniform approved for wear by civilians accompanying the Army in the ETO (this was authorized in the First US Army Group CI SOP promulgated before OVERLORD).

    Sources​


    SR 380-310-2 CIC procedures for personnel, admin, and training
    Maj. Dallas's thesis on the CIC in the ETO
    First US Army Group CI SOP (FUSAG CI SOP)
    Operations and Organization report of the General Board of the ETO (which I refer to as "the O&O")
     

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  5. Powerhouse

    Powerhouse Member

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    Thank you very much for your very complete answer. Those units are not very documented.
     
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  6. Publius

    Publius New Member

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    Yeah, I think the non-organic attachments to units are fascinating and underdocumented (at least on the allied side). I'm biased towards being interested in highly specialized units with really technical missions, but suspect a lot of wartime performance needs to be reinterpreted on the basis of their performance. The CIC is a little odd in that they seem to be primarily focused on just having a mission and lots of discretion as opposed to being highly technically focused.
     
  7. Powerhouse

    Powerhouse Member

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    I have read the document you attached. Very intersting too Thank you..
     

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