Secret Operations of World War II

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Both sides of World War II conducted surprising secret operations. Not all of these operations were successful, and some were even deciphered before they could be done. Yet all the operations involved tremendous courage and extraordinary ingenuity. Some WWII covert operations were effective enough to turn the tide of the war. Some operations were hopeless operations as a last resort. We’ve compiled a few of the secret operations in WW2.

Russia’s Uranus Counteroffensive Operation

Panzer III in the southern Soviet Union, December 1942 | Image Source: Bundesarchiv, Bild 101III-Bueschel-090-39 / Büschel / CC-BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en, via Wikimedia Commons

In 1942 the Germans were trying to seize Stalingrad and the oil fields of the Caucasus. The German Sixth Army had occupied most of Stalingrad and had taken almost all of it. The Soviet High Command, on the other hand, was preparing for a major counteroffensive, Operation Uranus, to be launched against the vulnerable parts of the Sixth Army defended by Romanian and Italian units.

The operation, which began on 19 November 1942, included 1,000 aircraft and tanks and a large artillery barrage of over 1 million people. With the attack, the Romanian positions collapsed and there was no German army in the area to respond to the attack. The German Sixth Army was trapped. Hitler, on the other hand, did not allow the armies to retreat.

The commander of the Sixth Army, Friedrich Paulus, surrendered to the Russians on February 2, 1943. This military event was a turning point in the Second World War and the end of Nazi Germany began with this event.

Smuggling with Underwear and Musical Notes

Image Source: Creator:Walery, Polish-British, 1863-1929, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Born in America, Josephine Baker was a famous dancer, singer, and jazz performer. Baker, who became a French citizen in 1937, convinced the Axis that he was on their side when Germany took over France. Baker spent his later years spying for the Allies at high-culture parties with senior Axis leaders. In these parties, he was capturing a lot of high-level information that would be useful to the Allied states.

Josephine Baker was planning demonstrations in neutral countries to deliver intelligence and handing over her notes covered in invisible ink to the Allies. When she was taking the photos to other countries, she was pinning them to his underwear. This plan has worked many times.

Operation Greif

Skorzeny with the liberated Mussolini | Image Source: Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-567-1503C-15 / Toni Schneiders / CC-BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en, via Wikimedia Commons

Commando leader Otto Skorzeny became famous for rescuing Benito Mussolini in September 1943. In the early stages of the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944, Adolf Hitler sent Skorzeny on a secret mission to demoralize the Allied powers and disrupt their communications. Initiating Operation Greif, Skorzeny disguised an English-speaking German unit in American uniforms captured in battle. Providing them with forged US Army documents, Skorzeny sent them on a covert mission behind enemy lines.

Fake soldiers successfully diverted convoy and tank traffic in the days following the incident. The rogue soldiers who changed the Allies’ waypoints, misled them, destroyed ammunition depots, and destroyed telephone lines had failed to achieve important military objectives.

American soldiers set up checkpoints on major roads as word of fake troops began to spread among the American ranks. They were asking the soldiers they turned off the road about pop culture and baseball so they could find the fake soldiers. A few of the Germans were indeed captured, but they managed to keep up the game, claiming that a commando team was on their way to Paris to kill General Dwight D. Eisenhower. The Allied commander, Eisenhower, had to be placed under house arrest for a while to protect himself from possible assassins.

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