No Moon as Witness

Being there . . . . with the SOE, Special Operations Executive, the British Secret Service, and
OSS, Office of Strategic Service, the American counterpart of the SOE and M16, the British
Secret Intelligence Service. Relish the rare opportunity to quietly observe the cooperation
between the SOE and OSS more or less on equal term throughout World War II, and after it.
The major objective of each was to not only gather news and “intelligence” throughout Nazi-
occupied Europe, especially western Europe, but also promote “subversive warfare in all the
enemy-occupied territories. SOE was formed in July 1940 by joining together a small sabotage
branch of M16, Section D, a semi-secret propaganda department of the foreign office. The OSS
was created by presidential Military Order on 13 June 1942. As mentioned, it functioned as the
principal U.S. intelligence organization, in all theatres, for the rest of the Second World War.
The effects of each in North Africa, the Mediterranean theatres, the Balkans, Normandy
landings, various strategic Operations, i.e., “Sunrise”, penetrations of Germany, and, during the
summer and fall of 1945, the military occupation and denazification of Germany, and war
crimes identifications of prominent Nazi involved. To this day, the complete activities of both
the SOE and OSS have not been revealed, lest they be needed again. Now, military historian,
James Stejskal, renowned by WWII buffs for his brilliant “Special Forces Berlin”, “Masters of
Mayhem”, and novels “A Question of Time” and “Appointment in Tehran”, provides us
additional mission activities, hitherto rarely, if ever, fully researched and narrated. Appetite
grows upon what it feeds, and as far the SOE and OSS, admiration, respect, and appreciation
plea, NAY, demand more in order to be there beside the brave agents, men and women, even
the young, who still, for the most part, remain unacknowledged.
IN WORLD II, SPECIAL OPERATIONS EXECUTIVE (SOE) AND THE OFFICE OF STRATEGIC SERVICES
(OSS) WERE CREATED TO FIGHT UNCONVENTIONALLY AND SUBVERSIVELY (read ‘dirty’ war)
AGAINST HITLER AND HIS INVADING AND OCCUPATION FORCES. CASEMATE PUBLISHERS
REISSUES, LEST WE FORGET, A BOOK DEDICATED TO THE COURAGE AND SACRIFICE OF THE
MEN AND WOMEN WHO SERVED BEHIND THE LINES WITH THE PATRIOTS OF THE RESISTANCE
GROUPS WITH WHOM THEY FOUGHT AND DIED. . . .
“NO MOON AS WITNESS – – Missions of the SOE and OSS In World War II”, by James Stejskal.
CASEMATE PUBLISHERS: 2021, 186 pages, 6 ¼”x 9 ¼”, hardcover, $29.95. Visit,
www.casematepublishers.com, or, Email, casemate@casematepublishers.com.
Reviewed and Highly Recommended by Don DeNevi
“Set Europe ablaze”, Ole Winnie Churchill ordered the Director of SOE 10 months after Hitler
launched World War II by invading Poland on 1 September 1939. And so it was that mostly
younger recruited SOE and OSS personnel began vigorous, rigorous training before heading for
the German occupied countries of Europe and the Mediterranean. There, hundreds began
working alone or alongside of local resistance groups and other national agents. Their work?
Sabotage, subversion, organizing resistance groups, and intelligence collecting to be
telegraphed by to the war offices in London. Soon, minor successes began piling up, i.e., the
destruction of power stations, stopping work at a vital U-boat bases, assassinations, the most

famous of all, Reinhard Heydrich, Himmler’s deputy who both he and Hitler feared, and ending
the Fuhrer’s precious atomic bomb program by destroying the heavy water plant at Vemork,
Norway.
Meanwhile, OSS operatives established anti-Nazi resistance groups across Europe and
managed to smuggle men and women into Nazi Germany and Berlin, themselves. One of the
less know achievements of the OSS was running one of the war’s most important Allied spies,
German diplomat, Fritz Kolbe. But all the OSS and SOE missions were incredibly dangerous.
Many agents were captured, tortured, and ultimately shot or hung, the life expectancy of an
SOE wireless operator in occupied France was just six weeks. Thanks to historian James Stejskal,
readers have a complete examination why these agencies were established, how their agents
were trained, the ingenious tools conceived and manufactured to help them in their missions,
operational successes, and their fabulous legacy. A solid introduction deserving a niche on one
of your fledgling library shelves.

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