SOE in Denmark (Hardback)
The Special Operations Executive’s Danish Section in WW2
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From a small number of clandestine activities against the German occupation of Denmark in 1940, a sophisticated resistance movement developed which by 1944, with the support of Special Operations Executive, had become a highly effective intelligence gathering and sabotage organisation.
Denmark is composed of a mainland and more than 500 islands, a fifth of which are inhabited, and the countryside is devoid of any inaccessible or mountainous region. Together this made communication between resistance cells difficult and meant that there were no natural bases from which guerrilla operations could be mounted. Nevertheless, thanks to supply drops of explosives, weapons and ammunition arranged by SOE, the Danes harassed the Germans and raised the moral of the Danish people in the latter, and most brutal, stages of the war.
This largely forgotten story of SOE and its agents in Denmark, the latter facing extremely hazardous conditions, was written immediately after the war by a SOE staff member and read and validated by the Director of SOE, Major General Colin Gubbins. A very large number of documents were burned at SOE’s London headquarters in Baker Street when the organisation was wound down in 1946 making this history of the Danish Section an invaluable and irreplaceable study.
SOE in Denmark was written at a time when SOE was still largely unknown to the general public and its operations a closely guarded secret. It was expected that its activities would never be officially acknowledged and the study of its actions in Denmark was compiled with the aim of provide a lasting record of its achievement. Within its pages we read of the dangers the agents faced, the logistical mountains they had to overcome, and the successes achieved in the face of a ruthless enemy. Completed with unique photographs from the Danish archives, SOE in Denmark is an essential addition to the SOE literature.
This concise history of SOE operations in Denmark is split into two parts, the first being an historical narrative of the creation and operation of the Danish SOE organisation, and the second being a series of appendices which go into greater detail about the SOE agents, a rundown of the wireless communications between Denmark and the UK, air and sea operations etc. There is also a particularly satisfying section on the various acts of sabotage carried out by the Danish Resistance.NetGalley, Wyn Lewis
The story of this important yet largely unknown chapter of World War II is told lucidly and without sensationalism; written by an unknown Staff Officer in SOE’s Danish Section prior to disbandment in 1946, it is a vital addition to the history of SOE and the canon of wartime history.
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Dylan Simon
This was first class scholarship hands down. I found this account of the Special Operations Executive in Denmark during WW II to be completely fascinating . The book’s step by step explanation of how these operatives from Britain and Denmark helped sow the seeds of resistance against the Germans is a deeply valuable resource to those who wish to know of a lesser known aspect of the Second World War.
‘X’ Section of S.O.2, a part of the Ministry of Economic Warfare, was formed in November 1940. Just two months later it came under the command of Major R.H. Thornley and, eventually, part of Special Operations Executive. Its role was to establish channels of communication into Germany and Austria for subversive activities and to build up inside those countries a network of agents. From the very beginning, ‘X’ Section faced an enormous task penetrating Germany and Austria. Such were the difficulties faced, that it was the opinion of the Secret Intelligence Service that there was ‘no point’…By An Official History
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