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Secrets of a German PoW (Hardback)

The Revelations of Hauptmann Herbert Cleff

Aviation Military > Prisoners of War WWII > German Forces & Weaponry

By Brian Brinkworth
Imprint: Pen & Sword Aviation
Pages: 182
ISBN: 9781783032952
Published: 28th February 2014
Last Released: 12th March 2014



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This is the extraordinary story of Hauptmann Herbert Cleff, who was captured in Egypt during the Allied advance from El Alamein in November 1942. He was thought to have had some administrative function in the Panzer corps, but not all was as it seemed.
It was found that he had expert knowledge about tanks, and was interrogated both in the Western Desert Theatre and after transfer to the UK, following assessments that he might prove useful to the Allied war effort. He began to reveal tantalizing glimpses of advanced scientific and engineering projects back in Germany, including the development of a secret new fuel, and progress with submarines, jet-powered aircraft, faster-thansound flight and long-range offensive missiles. The truth of Cleff's revelations could not be fully verified at the time, but some were accepted by key experts, which led to the start of a Most Secret project for a British high-speed research aircraft. Eventually, he decided to collaborate fully with his captors, with a view to bringing the war to an earlier end, though always insisting that the object was to destroy the Nazi regime, to the advantage of Germany in the long run. He was released into civilian life in 1943, to undertake work for the Ministry of Supply. Information gathered in Germany after the War now allows comparisons to be made by which the veracity of Cleff's claims can be assessed. Some firm conclusions are reached, but the motivation for his actions remains elusive. This highly original account is sure to appeal to anyone interested in fresh and diverting contributions to the unfolding history of the Second World War.

An interesting, thought-provoking biography.

Angela Youngman

‘This book is well researched with some good cross referencing, especially from the Miles Aircraft Collection’


This book is well-researched with some good cross-referencing, especially from the Miles Aircraft Collection.

Army Rumour Service

This is a highly original account and it reads like a thriller. A compulsive read that rewards.

 Brian Brinkworth

About Brian Brinkworth

Brian Brinkworth was a scientist at the Royal Aircraft Establishment before moving into academic life in 1960. Liking the combination of teaching and research he remained, becoming Professor, Head of Department and Dean of the Faculty at Cardiff University. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1992. He is the author of many papers and textbooks. In retirement, he has been an aviation historian, making several studies that have been published by the Royal Aeronautical Society. Flight of Fancy arose from following-up a mystery uncovered in one of those.

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