No Moon as Witness
Missions of the SOE and OSS in World War II
208 Pages, 6 x 9 in, 25-30
- June 2021
- In Stock
Winston Churchill famously instructed the head of the Special Operations Executive to “Set Europe ablaze!” Agents of both the British Special Operations Executive and the American Office of Strategic Services underwent rigorous training before making their way, undetected, into Occupied Europe. Working alone or in small cells, often cooperating with local resistance groups, agents undertook missions behind enemy lines involving sabotage, subversion, organizing resistance groups and intelligence-gathering.
The SOE’s notable successes included the destruction of a power station in France, the assassination of Himmler’s deputy Reinhard Heyrich, and ending the Nazi atomic bomb program by destroying the heavy water plant at Vemork, Norway. OSS operatives established anti-Nazi resistance groups across Europe, and managed to smuggle operatives into Nazi Germany, including running one of the war's most important spies, German diplomat Fritz Kolbe.
All of their missions were incredibly dangerous and many agents were captured, tortured, and ultimately killed – the life expectancy of an SOE wireless operator in occupied France was just six weeks.
In No Moon as Witness, historian James Stejskal examines why these agencies were established, the training regimen and ingenious tools developed to enable agents to undertake their missions, their operational successes, and their legacy.
"The book is well written with good details on the agents, their specialized equipment, and a selection of their missions." ~WWII History Magazine
"...illustrates the challenges of recruiting and training a clandestine force to conduct military operations or intelligence gathering missions in support of operational goals. The examples of daring raids and tragic failures help to immerse the reader in the action and danger that people endured in service to the cause." ~Military Review
"...the book is well organized and also an excellent read. It examines the close history of the SOE and OSS – and how they worked together . . . or not. In addition, the 'tools of the trade' chapter includes images and sketches that often do not appear in other books." ~SOF News
"…the book is well organized and also an excellent read. Some books that I read end up going to the ‘annual used book fair’; this one is a keeper and has found a home on my reference bookshelf." ~Special Operations News from Around the World
"While refreshingly brief, the book has considerable value as a modern overview of activities that took place more than 75 years ago and were then mostly highly secret." ~Baird Maritime
"Stejskal offers a spellbinding summary of successes and failures of SOE agents working alone or in small cells, always cooperating with local resistance groups in hard-hitting dangerous operations, often against befuddled Germans." ~ARGunners.com
"...an excellent, authoritative and detailed account of the creation and operations of the British Special Operations..." ~Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International
"...can serve as a primer for those interested further study." ~Studies in Intelligence