Military Review

Knights cloak and dagger on the other side of the Atlantic

Knights cloak and dagger on the other side of the Atlantic

The immediate entry of the United States into World War II followed the attack of the Japanese Navy on the US naval base Pearl Harbor 7 in December 1941 of the year and official support for this action from Germany. The Japanese attack was presented to the public as "unprovoked" and "sudden." Meanwhile, after the war, the documents were published, according to which the American military intelligence, thanks to the opening of Japan’s naval cipher, was generally known for the timing of this massive attack, and the targets for which the strike was carried out. Inconsistency in the actions of the US military and naval intelligence leadership and the confusion in the reporting system significantly impeded timely notification of the upcoming action by Washington’s top military and political institutions.

Despite the fact that the Americans announced in advance that in the coming war, the model of military intelligence and military counterintelligence linked to each other in the previous global war clashes would be introduced to the armed forces (AR). that the situation with the activities of the special services is again developing in the most unfavorable way, generally resembling the eve of the First World War.

General Dwight Eisenhower, who at X-NUMX – 1941’s post served as chief of the operational department of the Army’s General Staff, later referred to the negative impression that he and his colleagues had clearly the short-sighted attitude of the military leadership of the country to the problems of military intelligence in general and practically restored to within the headquarters of the intelligence agency, to which the military counterintelligence has largely relied. According to Eisenhower, allegedly because of the “lack of general vacancies” in the highest military circles in Washington, it was considered acceptable to hold only the colonel in the position of “head of reconnaissance”, thereby relegating both the position and the serviceman “assigned” demonstratively secondary level. " As in the initial period of the First World War in Washington, it was believed that the intelligence that the British command presented to the American command was quite enough for the reconnaissance of the Armed Forces. And only after repeated and persistent demands from the Chief of Staff of the Ground Forces General George Marshall, who enjoyed unquestioned authority from both the head of state and the legislators, in May 1942 was the full-time position of the head of the intelligence department raised to the level of Major General, and the head of department was appointed known in army circles, General George Strong, who later, together with the head of the Office of Strategic Services formed in the same period Zvedka) (OSS) William Donovan managed to create "a system that ultimately turned into a huge and effective organization."

On the other hand, due to the development of the decentralized system of military leadership in the United States Armed Forces in Washington, the main “investments”, both material and human, should be concentrated not in the center, but locally. In this regard, immediately after the American military-political leadership entered the war, emergency measures were taken to strengthen intelligence (departments and offices - G-2) and counterintelligence services affiliated with them in the headquarters of the strategic forces in the theaters of war: European (and associated him strategically north african) and in the pacific zone. At the same time, the resolution of organizational issues and counterintelligence activities was given greater importance than it was during the First World War. For example, in order to increase the status and significance of this service, already a week after the United States entered the war, the Intelligence Police Corps, which was in a “semi-active” state, was transformed into a counterintelligence corps with a new, significantly expanded staff - 543 officer and 4431 employee.


In the United States, corps officers, in cooperation with the military police and the FBI, immediately began to carry out the tasks of checking military personnel with access to restricted information materials, investigating sabotage, conspiracies and sabotage at military facilities and defense companies, manifestations of "disloyalty", especially directed against the US military by persons of German, as well as Italian and especially Japanese origin.

In accordance with the so-called Presidential Emergency Decree No. 9066 of February 19 of February 1942, the military counterintelligence was given the right to “dispose of persons of“ disloyal nationality ”to transfer to evictions zones. In reality, the Japanese were subjected mainly to internment, both American citizens and those who did not have time to leave the United States. During the 12 months, starting in March 1942, 10 concentration camps were opened in seven states, which contained more than 120 thousand Japanese.

During the war years, military counterintelligence officers in the United States launched an active activity that periodically went beyond even the laws of wartime. There have been repeated instances of military counterintelligence intervening in affairs, the military aspect of which was obviously secondary or even contrived, and therefore American lawmakers had to intervene and very significantly restrict the activities of this service in the United States. However, for military counterintelligence, there was a new and, perhaps most important, before the end of the war, the use associated with the implementation of the so-called Manhattan nuclear weapons project. weapons. The titanic efforts manifested by military counterintelligence in cooperation with the FBI in this field nevertheless failed, as a result of which there were constant leaks of information that contributed to the success of a nuclear project in the USSR.


In the highly divided theaters of war, the US Armed Forces counterintelligence operated in close coordination with US military intelligence and Allied intelligence. The work of military counterintelligence could not but have differences. I had to consider: historical traditions, state and military structure, composition and mentality of the population of countries, colonies and mandated territories, the nature of the terrain, weather conditions, and last but not least the features of the opposing groupings of troops and forces. At the same time, the tasks facing military counterintelligence were virtually identical: ensuring the successful military operations of their armed forces and allied forces by neutralizing enemy agents that impede the implementation of strategic, operational, tactical and tactical operations, including protection against various sabotage and sabotage on very long communications. To the extent possible, all these factors were taken into account by the American command, which flexibly reacted to changes in the situation, adopted experience and used the recommendations of a more sophisticated British ally in connection with the “rich colonial experience”. At the same time, the main feature that significantly complicated the management of the American military counterintelligence activity was the almost simultaneous involvement of the US Armed Forces in military operations at the European (and adjacent North African), as well as the Pacific theaters of war.

Contrary to popular belief about the alleged unwillingness of Americans to “open a second front” in Europe, starting in the middle of 1942, the United States began methodically building up its potential in the United Kingdom and regions adjacent to the European continent in order to create favorable political and strategic conditions.

Numerous transports with weapons, military equipment and military personnel, which began to arrive in the United Kingdom from the USA and Canada, were initially unloaded in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the northwestern ports of England, and then dispersed in Central and Southern England. During this difficult period of the transfer and displacement of significant masses of troops and military hardware, the American counterintelligence was assisted by the powerful counterintelligence service of Great Britain, which, unlike the period of the First World War, from the very outbreak of hostilities quite successfully implemented plans to establish an extremely tough counterintelligence regime in the country. The situation with countering sabotage and espionage in the UK was really difficult. The fact is that since the mid-30s, and especially with the outbreak of World War II, London and other major cities of the country turned out to be crowded with emigrants from various European countries, many of whom were in the service of intelligence of Nazi Germany. However, the British counterintelligence, as many researchers of the history of special services note, in general managed to cope with the tasks assigned to it.

The American military counterintelligence, in addition to the routine confidential checks of their servicemen, work to prevent the leakage of secret information, measures to disguise and disinfect the enemy, combat saboteurs, etc., had to be addressed and a lot of tasks for which they were not originally prepared. This primarily related to the specifics of relations between US servicemen and the local population. For the most part, the British were friendly towards the “guests”, although they had to endure very serious “inconveniences”. From time to time, American counterintelligence concerns and inevitable countermeasures caused hidden and sometimes open "unfriendly manifestations" by "anti-Anglo-Saxon" minded locals, Irish by origin, and especially a large number of "unreliable visitors" from the Irish Republic, officially holding neutrality in the war and literally "flooded" Germanic agents. However, the overall moral atmosphere in Britain and the hatred of the local population towards the Nazis contributed to the overall successful solution of counterintelligence tasks by the Americans.


Among the employees of the counterintelligence corps there were more than 4 thousand civilian specialists. In the photo - employees of the Counterintelligence Corps pass the checkpoint. Photos of the US National Archives and Records Administration. 1945 year

The situation was different in North Africa, where at the end of 1942, with the aim of attacking a group of armed forces of the Axis Powers, US forces began to arrive. They were tasked with organizing close cooperation during the Torch operation with the British forces already deployed in the region and the local garrisons of the Vichy France troops partly on the side of the allies, as well as the French military members of the anti-Hitler’s Free France. " At the same time, the problem was not so much the presence in the region of a large group of German-Italian enemy troops led by the authoritative German commander Rommel, whose allies were aimed at direct confrontation with the formations of which.

The command of the American-British troops and the French who joined them were of great concern to the mood of the local population and the high probability of provocations and sabotage both directly against the Allied forces and against their logistical and support facilities, including the equipment of poorly developed communications. The fact is that most of the local Arab population was clearly pro-German and was subjected to intense Nazi propaganda, taking into account the traditional anti-Semitism of Arabs and antipathies against the "British colonialists". In this regard, an illustrative example is this: on the recommendation of counterintelligence, the commander of the Allied forces grouping General Eisenhower had to speak in the local media explaining that "neither President Roosevelt nor he are not Jews themselves."

Anti-British and pro-Nazi sentiments were also strong among a large part of the French population, mainly in cities and large settlements of the region. A significant part of the officer corps of the local French garrisons did not feel any sympathy for the “Free France” and especially with regard to its leader, General de Gaulle, whom they considered to be an “upstart”, “an officer who did not follow the rules of military ethics and discipline”, “entirely under the influence of the traditional rivals of France - the British. "

American counterintelligence workers who worked with them in close cooperation had to take into account the factor of proximity to areas of potential hostilities in Franco Spain, which was formally an ally of Nazi Germany. Under these conditions, in close cooperation with the intelligence units of the British, the US military counterintelligence had great difficulty in preventing (including using the "elementary bribing") attempts by Arab tribes to revolt in the rear of their troops with preventive, including violent, measures to neutralize the intentions of the "French-Vichists" to "resist" the allies and to toughly fight with the sabotage groups of the German and Italian secret services. After the liberation of settlements on the coast, counterintelligence had to “clean out” local authorities from “Vichists”, various kinds of Nazi accomplices and isolate them. The joint Anglo-American headquarters formally acknowledged that “by coordinated and skillful actions, the military counterintelligence of the allies as a whole was able to accomplish the tasks assigned to them during the military operations in North Africa”. Researchers of special services note the fact that it was the active work in preparing and implementing Operation Torch in this region that enriched the American military counterintelligence with invaluable experience, which was useful to her in ensuring the subsequent actions of the Western allies with the direct liberation of Western Europe.


In the spring of 1943, the Western allies, under the leadership of the American commander of the combined (variant) group of General Eisenhower, planned and began to carry out Operation Husky to seize the island of Sicily, on which German and Italian forces were concentrated in defense readiness. The Allies reconnaissance worked well enough, which managed to reveal practically all possible centers of resistance, as a result of which the landing of American and British troops was carried out with minimal losses. The success of the Allies and contributed to the relatively weak resistance of the Italians, their general apathy, caused by the realization of the inevitability of the collapse of the regime of Mussolini in Rome. In addition, the large-scale disinformation activities of the enemy regarding the landing sites, carried out jointly by Allied reconnaissance and counterintelligence, played the first hand in the entire campaign for the entire campaign. Not the last role in breaking the resistance of the Italians, especially in southern Italy, was played by the factor of connecting the American special services to the so-called psychological pressure on the enemy members of the Italian mafia, who settled in the United States and did not lose its ties with "related structures" in the homeland. For what, naturally, the mafia were "encouraged" by American law enforcement agencies by "getting rid of deserved punishment."

The rapid liberation of Sicily had its strategic consequences in the sense that Mussolini was finally overthrown, and the new Italian leadership immediately began trying to reach an agreement with the allies about “gentle surrender”. Representatives of the intelligence division of the Eisenhower headquarters and military counterintelligence officers took the most direct part in organizing contacts with the Italians. The latter’s participation in the organization and conduct of negotiations was due to the obtained information that a whole number of Italian fascist fanatics from leading circles in Rome planned provocations and sabotage with the aim of not only disrupting the surrender talks, but also “bringing friction” into the allies' relations, in particular British and French.

Due to the fact that the next phase of the operation to liberate Sicily and then the landing of Allied troops on the coast of Italy itself went beyond the “purely military”, the United Anglo-American headquarters joined the planning of further actions, having “its” sources of information and “wasting time” on agreeing on their next steps, significantly delayed the implementation of what was conceived at Eisenhower’s headquarters and made counterintelligence difficult to implement the plans for internment of enemy troops, interrogations, was investigated as well as the analysis of the numerous documents that came into its possession from the headquarters of the capitulating Italian units and formations, as well as the captured German military personnel.

However, the Americans and the British managed with relative success to land on the Italian coast and begin a slow advance to the north of the country. At the same time, they were mainly resisted only by German forces. The new Italian leadership, despite the "countermeasures" of the Germans, came out with a proposal to the allies about the surrender. Both the military intelligence and counterintelligence, led by the head of the relevant Eisenhower headquarters, Brigadier General Kennat Strong, were connected to the talks that began shortly. The problem of ensuring security in the rear of its troops, communication lines and transport arteries, the protection of warehouses and trains, and the prevention of subversive activities began to manifest itself even more in relief form than in North Africa. Specially trained teams consisting of officers and civil servants, both Americans and British, could not properly cope with the ever-increasing amount of work. The military counterintelligence was assigned the task of controlling the organization of the entire scope of activities. An unexpectedly intractable problem was the task of organizing special camps for prisoners of war and displaced persons, taking interrogations from them and bringing war criminals to trial, as well as conducting specific document circulation.

Gradually, as the front line advanced to the north, life in the Italian province began to return to normal. However, the political leadership of the Western allies, with a certain degree of surprise, “suddenly” discovered that instead of the fascists who had discredited themselves during the reign of the fascists, “communist elements” from among the former partisans who used among the population deserved authority as “true fighters against fascism ". The military counterintelligence of the Allies was given the task of preventing the “gradual usurpation of power in Italy by the communists”, for which any measures were not forbidden: from elementary bribing to blackmail and violent actions.

All this had to be done in parallel with the implementation of routine counterintelligence work in ensuring the advancement of troops in the direction of the German borders.

From the point of view of counterintelligence activities, traditional in character, but at the same time, the direct involvement of the American intelligence services in ensuring the security of the Cairo Conference in November 1943 with the participation of US President Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Churchill and Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek and Teheran 1943 conference of the year with the participation of all three leaders of the anti-Hitler coalition. And if in Tehran, Soviet and British intelligence agencies played a major role in ensuring security, then the Americans also had to demonstrate their professionalism in preparing the summit in Cairo. The particular difficulty of working in both cases was that German intelligence carefully prepared a series of sabotage and attacks on coalition leaders, which could only be prevented due to coherence in the work and coordination of the special services of the United States, Great Britain and, above all, the USSR.


In accordance with the final agreements of the coalition leaders, at the end of May - the beginning of June, 1944 planned the invasion of the troops of the Western allies to the northern coast of France (Operation Overlord). According to a coordinated decision of the political leaders of the countries - members of the coalition, American General Dwight Eisenhower was appointed Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces, at which a headquarters was created with the inclusion of reconnaissance and counterintelligence units, staffed mainly by Americans and British. By the time of the landing in Britain, an unprecedented grouping of troops was concentrated, including up to 20 American, British 12, three Canadian, and one French and Polish divisions each.

The counterintelligence regime in the UK was strengthened to the maximum level: free entry to the troop areas was prohibited, communication between Great Britain and Ireland (Southern Ireland) was interrupted, all diplomatic communications were prohibited and total checks were introduced on the streets of cities and towns country. The command of the invasion troops developed and with the assistance of the military counterintelligence of the United States and Britain began to implement the operation to mislead the Germans about the actual landing sites, for which the counterintelligence agents organized a skillful imitation of "violent activity" in the false places of concentration of airborne troops and troops. In general, the landing took place without major disruptions, and the Allied forces began a slow advance to the East.

Despite the fact that the Allies planned aviation attacks in the rear of the defending German forces so as to inflict minimal damage to the civilian population, mainly in France and Belgium, still could not be avoided. Under these conditions, counterintelligence, in collaboration with other services, was entrusted with “minimizing” the level of negative sentiments and protests by residents of the affected regions.

In contrast to the large share of negative attitudes towards Free France and its leader de Gaulle in North Africa, the population of the French provinces, the objects of the Allied direct invasion in the summer of 1944, was generally prepared in advance for the inevitability of their “liberation”, including the leader of France, whose candidacy for this post was finally agreed by all three leaders of the anti-Hitler coalition. In this regard, there were no particular problems in the rear during the advance of Allied troops towards the German border.

As in Italy before, the counterintelligence of the allies, in cooperation with the military police and other special services, had to solve two significant problems: accommodation and specific “work” with a very large number of prisoners of war and the so-called displaced persons from Nazi concentration camps, and from the government ”of those who, in many localities, replaced“ Vichyists ”of“ communist orientation ”, or members of communist and other left-wing organizations who have won public confidence in their active participation in the Resistance. Another manifestation of this “problem” was the facts of the demands of the commanders of some large French partisan detachments, which were entirely or oriented towards the communists, to include de Gaulle “only as independent units and divisions” in the liberation army. This issue reached the political level, but in the end it was “settled” not without the help of the active work of the counterintelligence of the allies.

In addition, military counterintelligence agents were attracted to the work of censorship agencies, whose clarity and severity of activity, especially during the preparation of operations at the operational-tactical level, received the closest attention and careful checking of the correspondence of American servicemen in Europe with their relatives and friends in the United States. Unexpectedly, a lot of effort and time was spent by military counterintelligence to participate in the fight against the black market, in the organization of which American servicemen were involved, including junior and senior officers.


The invasion of the Allied forces in Germany from the point of view of the American military counterintelligence brought two major innovations: the specifics of working with the German population and ensuring contacts with the Red Army soldiers along the lines of demarcation specified by the politicians. The population of the occupied German lands as a whole was aware of the inevitability of the fall of the Hitler regime and practically did not respond to the appeals of the remaining Nazi agents for sabotage and acts of sabotage. However, military counterintelligence and military police all the time had to be in a tense state, waiting for manifestations of discontent and insurrection in the territories under their control. At first, it was difficult for the local population to find a suitable replacement for the former administrative bodies, which consisted of pillars from the Nazis or who sympathized with them. Selection of new personnel lay on the shoulders including military counterintelligence.

The “meetings” of the Western allies with the units and formations of the Red Army in Central Germany and other states along the front lines, which became more frequent in late April - early May 1945, also laid down an additional burden on the American military counterintelligence, whose tasks, on the one hand, included “ensuring conflict-free contacts with ideologically alien, but still formal allies, ”and on the other hand, in cooperation with the intelligence agencies of their country, to increase their awareness of plans and intentions th ally ", using the full set of" special methods and means. "

In all countries and zones occupied by American troops, an unprecedented set of tasks was assigned to military counterintelligence, associated not so much with the assistance of specially trained teams from the occupying troops to normalize economic life in the regions under control, but rather with controlling the evolving political situation, recruiting agents among local residents, identifying valuable specialists and researchers, first of all in the field of the so-called nuclear project, new breakthrough military technologists second, including rocketry, cryptography, etc.

With the appearance of the first signs of the Cold War between the former allies, American counterintelligence officers were tasked to work together with intelligence “work” with Soviet citizens who remained in the camps of displaced persons, to induce some of them to not return to their homeland and, on the contrary, to recruit throwing in the USSR and allied states of "processed" citizens for espionage and sabotage work in the interests of the new owners.

According to the military-political leadership of the United States, American military counterintelligence in general coped with its task during operations in the European theater of war and adjacent territories, as well as in the post-war period, gaining experience in supporting the actions of troops and independent work in close cooperation with intelligence, useful to her later.
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  1. CHILD
    CHILD 10 February 2016 11: 45
    A good article ... well, yes ... do not add, do not turn down .... as they always said ... divide and rule. What has changed now? ... nothing ... it just became easier for the special services to live in terms of collecting information. ... and much harder in terms of processing it)))
    1. Stirbjorn
      Stirbjorn 10 February 2016 11: 54
      It was necessary to take into account: historical traditions, state and military structure, composition and mentality of the population of countries, colonies and mandated territories
      That is the problem with the current intelligence, otherwise ISIS would not have been out of control, well, with Libya, similarly, it turned out
      1. Blondy
        Blondy 10 February 2016 12: 39
        Quote: Stirbjorn
        That is the problem with the current intelligence, otherwise ISIS would not have been out of control, well, with Libya, similarly, it turned out

        Yeah, you might think that from the created mess in the BV and in Europe, the US has become worse off. In my opinion, on the contrary, now Europe will be under such American control as never before (do not forget about the largest US base in Kosovo, about 50 thousand personnel, which pretends that it is not) except for the first post-war years.
        1. Stirbjorn
          Stirbjorn 10 February 2016 14: 18
          Well, in fact, the failure of foreign policy is in the face - Obama won the election, promising to withdraw troops from Iraq. Withdrew, and now about to enter again. In Libya, it got to the point that the American ambassador was banged. In Syria, they spent a lot of money on the opposition, and in fact received 5, it seems, trained people - McCain was indignant about this. Assad is still in power, despite all attempts to shove him. A simultaneous friendship with the Kurds and Erdogan, which wildly outrages the latter. All this wasted money and loss of prestige.
  2. triglav
    triglav 10 February 2016 11: 50
    Clowns are. And gouging. Especially in Pearl Harbor. Intelligence did not agree. Laugh. The Americans are still at the same level. By and large, they have not fought anywhere, but cool professionals are writhing themselves. They only do well in movies. And they are trying to threaten us! Or maybe they are threatening because they understand that they cannot cope with us under any circumstances. They are just afraid, mongrels.
    1. CHILD
      CHILD 10 February 2016 11: 56
      And they perfectly understand what the direct clash will end for them ... they are trying to replay in other fields .. and what is not there .. periodically they get it.
    2. Stirbjorn
      Stirbjorn 10 February 2016 11: 56
      Quote: triglav
      By and large, they have not fought anywhere, but cool professionals are writhing themselves.
      And who fought in the Pacific Ocean?
      1. Samen
        Samen 10 February 2016 13: 50
        Quote: triglav
        The Americans are still at the same level

        Where did such secret information come from, let me ask?
        Own intelligence?
        Or, counterintelligence knocked out of tourists? repeat
  3. Zolotse
    Zolotse 10 February 2016 12: 19
    Our intelligence is also on the alert ...; amers and gaps have a lot: they "missed" ours in Crimea and Syria ..
    1. Baikonur
      Baikonur 10 February 2016 14: 02
      Well, we can’t know everything! This is intelligence!
      After all, in Crimea, they also understood that they could not do anything (almost 100% of the population supported Russia and the Ukrainian army was there, to put it mildly, not quite in condition!)
      In Syria - maybe they need it that way ?! Do not ask such a question? May arrange them such a layout! It is not known. Maybe they want to play this! in a distant, alien territory, as they like! Russia pulled in!
      1. cap
        cap 10 February 2016 16: 13
        Quote: Baikonur
        May arrange them such a layout! It is not known. Maybe they want to play this! in a distant, alien territory, as they like! Russia pulled in!

        They are looking for a weak spot, creating oases of "democracy" everywhere. Anything that will weaken the enemy and reveal weaknesses is the right strategy, given that dollars are taken everywhere, and everything. That this candy wrapper in world politics is the main corruption bill known to every yard dog. there is something to pay traitors of all stripes, the process will not stop. Intelligence agencies of all countries play on greed, followed by compromising evidence on bribed politicians. For the United States, the whole world is a big supermarket where you can buy everything and everyone.
        One of the reasons for his hatred of Putin lies precisely in this. His pockets are sewn up.
        But we know who the hat is on.
  4. a
    a 12 January 2017 12: 52
    Contrary to popular belief about the alleged unwillingness of Americans to “open a second front” in Europe, starting in the middle of 1942, the United States began methodically building up its potential in the United Kingdom and regions adjacent to the European continent in order to create favorable political and strategic conditions.

    And they could still delay the time before the opening of the 2nd front or not open it at all, or after the defeat of Germany by the Soviet troops, try to stop the advance of the Soviet troops in France and Spain ... there are many options, so the opinion of the reluctance to open a second front is The correct, back in 1941 opinion on how the United States should behave was expressed by Vice President Harry Truman. So the opinion of the reluctance to open a second front at the request of the USSR, starting in 1941! - right, well, they didn’t want to open a second front either at 41, 42, 43, or even 44 ..... if not for the successes of the Soviet army ..... Author! Well, the Allies did not want to OPEN THE SECOND FRONT FOR THREE YEARS! Do you have a different opinion?