WWII HISTORY LESSON

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Mike Meints, Nov 29, 2018.

  1. Mike Meints

    Mike Meints Well-Known Member

    Mar 2, 2017
    YEARS AGO, I READ A BOOK DEDICATED TO ESCAPE AIDS THAT WERE MADE FOR ALLIED AIRMEN. ONE PARTICULAR THAT I REMEMBER WAS THE USAAC TUNICS HAD THE TYPICAL METAL BUTTONS WITH AN EAGLE CLUTCHING ARROWS AND OLIVE BRANCHES. THE THIRD BUTTON FROM THE TOP CONTAINED A COMPASS WHICH COULD BE REVEALED BY SIMPLY UNSCREWING THE TOP COVER. THE GERMANS FINALLY DISCOVERED THIS RUSE, SO THE MANUFACTURERS SIMPLY REVERSED THE THREADS ON THE CAP, WHICH THE GERMANS NEVER DISCOVERED.



    Starting in 1941, an increasing number of British Airmen found themselves as the involuntary guests of the Third Reich, and the Crown was casting about for ways and means to facilitate their escape...
    Now obviously, one of the most helpful aids to that end is a useful and accurate map, one showing not only where stuff was, but also showing the locations of 'safe houses' where a POW on-the-lam could go for food and shelter.
    Paper maps had some real drawbacks -- they make a lot of noise when you open and fold them, they wear out rapidly, and if they get wet, they turn into mush.
    Someone in MI-5 (similar to America's OSS) got the idea of printing escape maps on silk. It's durable, can be scrunched-up into tiny wads, and unfolded as many times as needed, and makes no noise whatsoever.
    At that time, there was only one manufacturer in Great Britain that had perfected the technology of printing on silk, and that was John Waddington, Ltd. When approached by the government, the firm was only too happy to do its bit for the war effort.
    By pure coincidence, Waddington was also the U.K Licensee for the poular American board game, Monopoly. As it happened, 'games and pastimes' was a category of item qualified for insertion into 'CARE' packages', dispatched by the International Red Cross to prisoners of war.
    Under the strictest secrecy in a securely guarded and inaccessible old workshop on the grounds of Waddington's, a group of sworn-to-secrecy employees began mass-producing escape maps, keyed to each region of Germany or Italy where Allied POW camps were located. When processed, these maps could be folded into such tiny dots that they would actually fit inside a Monopoly playing piece
    As long as they were at it, the clever workmen at Waddington's also managed to add: 1. A playing token containing a magnetic compass. 2. A two-part metal file that could easily be screwed together. 3. Useful amounts of genuine high-denomination German, Italian and French currency, hidden within the piles of Monopoly money.
    British and American crews were advised, before taking off on their first mission, how to identify a 'rigged' Monopoly set by means of a tiny red dot, one cleverly rigged to look like an ordinary printing glitch, located in the corner of the 'Free Parking Square'.
    Of the estimated 35,000 Allied POW'S who successfully escaped, an estimated one-third were aided in their flight by the rigged Monopoly sets. Everyone who did so was sworn to secrecy indefinitely, since the British Government might want to use this highly successful ruse in still another future war.
    The story wasn't declassified until 2007, when the surviving craftsmen from Waddington's, as well as the firm itself, were finally honored in a public ceremony.
    It's always nice when you can play that 'Get Out of Jail Free' card!
    I realize that many of you are too young to have any personal connection to WWII (Sept '39 to Aug '45) but this a story all should find interesting .
     
    isialk, xerts1191, tac45 and 20 others like this.
  2. robs9

    robs9 Well-Known Member

    265
    May 4, 2015
    Thank you for posting. Very cool.

    Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
     

  3. Speedbump

    Speedbump Member

    29
    Aug 20, 2018
     
    wcanterbury likes this.
  4. Capthobo

    Capthobo NRA Endowment member Supporting Addict

    Nov 9, 2016
    Thanks @Mike Meints
    Since my dad was US Army Air Corps WWII this is of valued interest. He hardly ever mentioned his service years in Europe and after his death we learned why. My dad was a full Bird Colonel and charged with many duties of which one most important was liberating the Buchenwald concentration camp and reestablishing what they termed as displaced persons. We found many pictures of this action and it’s not hard to imagine the terrible treatment these people endured and can understand why he never spoke of it. My most treasured and priceless photo though is of my dad standing in the fire bombed alps residence of Hitlers’ renowned Eagles nest.
     
    isialk, xerts1191, Kip and 8 others like this.
  5. danc1996

    danc1996 Well-Known Member

    353
    Nov 29, 2016
    That's freaking awesome! Can't believe it stayed classified for that long

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-N920A using Tapatalk
     
  6. limbkiller

    limbkiller Pulling my hair. Supporting Addict

    Aug 18, 2011
    That is to cool!!!!
     
    Mike Meints likes this.
  7. tac45

    tac45 What me worry ? Supporting Addict

    Mar 4, 2012
  8. Mike A

    Mike A Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Mar 19, 2017
    Pure Genius :D
    Patriots owe so much to the greatest generation.
     
  9. isialk

    isialk Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Jan 7, 2017
    Outstanding post Mike thanks much. Such an ingenious and important effort by so many finally rewarded.


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    Mike Meints likes this.
  10. Patton2018

    Patton2018 Member

    47
    Nov 8, 2018
    Man, I love this story.
     

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