No Cloak, No Dagger: Allied Spycraft in Occupied France

No Cloak, No Dagger: Allied Spycraft in Occupied France

by Benjamin Cowburn


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The memoir of SOE agent Benjamin Cowburn is rightly regarded as a classic of wartime literature. In simple, gripping detail Cowburn explains the methods of special agents who were dropped into France during the war and the ways that agents would set about establishing secure networks with the French Resistance.

His account sheds light on the views of both the Resistance fighters facing torture at the hands of the Gestapo and their besieged French countrymen. He also gives fascinating general lessons in the art of spying from establishing a worthy target to executing an operation, and tells the full story of his own sabotage operations, including the effective destruction of cylinders for thirteen locomotives in the dead of night. As in so many operations, mistakes were made which could have led to numerous arrests. In this case, the details of the operation had accidentally been left on a blackboard in the school where they had planned the raid, but were luckily scrubbed out by the headmaster’s wife. On another occasion, Cowburn snuck itching powder into the laundry of Luftwaffe agents to cause a disruption.

This new edition contains an Introduction by M.R.D Foot and a Foreword by Sebastian Faulks.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781848327764
Publisher: Pen and Sword
Publication date: 11/02/2014
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Benjamin Cowburn is an author and historian.

Table of Contents

Foreword vii

Introduction xi

Preface xv

Part 1

1 Fly R.A.F. to the Continent 9

2 First impressions 16

3 First signs of trouble 24

4 'Nach Paris' 29

5 Meeting friends 40

6 The tame locomotive 54

7 The 'Victoire' affair 66

8 Mountaineering 94

Conclusion of Part One 100

Part 2

9 Alexandre 103

10 A munitions drop 120

11 Lysander 135

12 Third mission 142

13 Pianists and mutes 154

14 Noisy nights 165

15 Friends in trouble 180

Liberation 191

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