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BRIXMIS and the Secret Cold War (Hardback)

Intelligence Collecting Operations Behind Enemy Lines in East Germany

Military > Post-WWII Warfare > Cold War WWII > Espionage & the SOE

By Andrew Long
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 248
Illustrations: 40 mono illustrations
ISBN: 9781399067843
Published: 30th July 2024


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The German Democratic Republic, or East Germany, was the frontline in the Cold War, packed with hundreds of thousands of Soviet and East German troops armed with the latest Warsaw Pact equipment, lined up along the 1,400 km Inner German Border. However, because of the repressive East German police state, little human intelligence about these forces reached the West. Who were they? Where were they located? What were they doing? How were they equipped? What were their intentions? NATO was lined up in West Germany to face these forces and relied on getting up-to-date intelligence to warn of any threat, ‘Indicators of Hostility’ that could be a precursor to an invasion.

BRIXMIS, the British Commanders’-in-Chief Mission to the Soviet Forces in Germany, was on hand to provide that intelligence. Thanks to an obscure 1946 agreement between the British and Soviets that established ‘liaison missions’ in their respective zones of occupation, the British were able to send highly qualified military ‘observers’ into East Germany to roam (relatively) freely and keep an eye on what was going on. What started as ‘liaison’, a point of contact between the British and Soviet occupation forces, developed into a very sophisticated intelligence collection operation, sending ‘tours’ out every day of the year, between 1946 and when the Mission closed in 1990.

These tours were undertaken in high-performance, highly modified marked vehicles, with personnel in uniform and unarmed, apart from professional photographic equipment and occasionally some top-secret gadgets from the boffins back in the UK. They joined their French and American colleagues in snooping around the opposition, photographing military bases, equipment, and manoeuvres, and trying to evade capture by the secret police and counterintelligence units. They faced danger and violence daily, but thanks to their bravery and professionalism, the West had accurate and up-to-date information on what was happening in East Germany which helped keep the peace all that time. This is the story of this little-known unit and their exploits behind enemy lines.

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About Andrew Long

Andrew Long is a Cold War historian and author. His fascination with the Cold War began with a trip to East Berlin in 1986, travelling through the famous Checkpoint CHARLIE. Andrew's writing comes from a desire to make sense of an extremely complex period in modern history, weaving together inter-relating stories involving politics, ideologies, personalities, intelligence, technological advances, and geography. There is still much to be told on this fascinating subject. After a successful career in marketing, Andrew relocated to Cornwall and took up writing full time. This is Andrew’s fourth book, with the first three volumes of a miniseries on Cold War Berlin published by Helion & Company in 2021/22.

Perfect Partner

Secrets of the Cold War Espionage and Intelligence Operations - From Both Sides of the Iron Curtain (Hardback)

The Cold War, which lasted from the end of the Second World War to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, was fought mostly in the shadows, with the superpowers manoeuvring for strategic advantage in an anticipated global armed confrontation that thankfully never happened. How did the intelligence organisations of the major world powers go about their work? What advantages were they looking for? Did they succeed? By examining some of the famous, infamous, or lesser-known intelligence operations from both sides of the Iron Curtain, this book explains how the superpowers went about gathering…

By Andrew Long

Click here to buy both titles for £45.00
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