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Special Ops, 1939-1945: A Manual of Covert Warfare and Training    by Stephen Bull order for
Special Ops, 1939-1945
by Stephen Bull
Order:  USA  Can
Zenith Press, 2009 (2009)
* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

During World War II Allied partisans, spies and saboteurs risked everything working behind enemy lines to disrupt the flow of troops and supplies. The normal rules of war were usually suspended in these instances and the concealment of oneself, weapons, and equipment was crucial if the clandestine missions were to be successfully carried out.

Silent killing, disguise, covert communications and the art of guerrilla warfare evolved as the conflict continued. Organizations like the British SOE and the American OSS were charged with conducting these operations behind enemy lines. To do so efficiently, they created secret techniques and special pieces of equipment to make the operatives' lives in the field easier.

This volume provides a remarkable insight into the training and techniques of Allied agents throughout the war. You'll discover The Partisan Leader's Handbook created in 1939 and documents that focus on topics as diverse as propaganda efforts, sabotage and the art of disguise. There are also a series of illustrations taken from the Descriptive Catalogue of Special Devices and Supplies that would do a modern day James Bond proud.

The author provides a short account of the early days of the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) and its American counterpart, the Office of Strategic Services, whose mission included overseeing the groups charged with conducting clandestine warfare.

A fascinating little book containing material not collected in this manner until now, Special Ops, 1939-1945 offers interesting insights as to how clandestine operations were conducted in Europe during the war. This is certainly an essential read for those who wish to know more about the modus operandi of the Allied secret agent.

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