Archives for WW2


Code Name Beatriz by Lou Cadle [Book Review]

Code Name: Beatriz by Lou Cadle My rating: 5 of 5 stars Code Name Beatriz by Lou Cadle is historical fiction done right. I always shy from historical fiction, not because I don't like it, but because it's really hard to get right. That's doubly so when it's one of my favourite and most read periods of history. I've read about SOE agents since finding a copy of Carve Her Name With Pride at my granny's house when I was ten. ┬áLou Cadle has done a great job with Code Name Beatriz. Code Name Beatriz French resistance fighters being arrested, France, Jul 1944 (photo: Bundesarchiv, Koll, Bild 183-J27289) Starting in the early spring of 1944 it follows an SOE agent with the code name Beatriz (hence the title). Beatriz is a fully rounded and complex character, which makes her interesting.…
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Sticky End [Flash Fiction] [WW2 SOE]

Sticky End is my flash fiction for the first round of the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge this year. The first round was last weekend and the group I'm in were assigned a spy genre story to be set in a prison cell and featuring glue. The story had to be under one thousand words and written within 48 hours. (Last year I wrote Down the Harbour and Burning to Leave for the 2017 flash fiction challenge). I spent a bit of Saturday thinking about it, the hard bit for me was trying to work in the glue naturally and believably. Some help from Google showed me that the WW2 Special Operations Executive (SOE) used to include tubes of bostik adhesive in the containers that they dropped to the Jedburgh teams. The bostik was used to camouflage improved explosive devices…
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Days of Fire by Samuel Katz [Book Review]

I picked up Days of Fire as part of my background reading for the Divided Land megagame last Saturday. Samuel Katz was a member of Irgun in the mid 40s, and Days of Fire is his story of how Irgun pushed Israel into being. Days of Fire Days of Fire is aptly titled, Palestine from 1944 until the end of the British Mandate was a turbulent place. Thousands of people were killed or wounded in the violence and more were dispossessed. Even before the British withdrew there was a civil war. Irgun were an extremist breakaway group of the Revisionist Zionists. A bit like PIRA three decades later. Mostly they tried to cause chaos and avoid killing people, although sometimes their warnings went unheeded, like the bombing of the King David Hotel. Katz started as a secretary to the South…
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What if? Building an alternate history

Photograph of Lord Halifax, British Ambassador to the United States, with an unidentified officer, at the - NARA - 199243 (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Last week I had dinner with a friend who asked me a "what if?" question that set me thinking about building an alternate history for a game and a story. We were talking about SOE in the spring and summer of 1944. The period is rich in possibilities and decisions for players on a game. However there's an awful lot of hindsight getting in the way of being able to properly game the period. The Problem with Hindsight The invasion is inevitable, and even when previous games have given the allies latitude over where and when the German players don't act the way the Germans did. It's impossible to create the same uncertainty in the German High…
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German Penetration of SOE by Jean Overton Fuller [Book Review]

English: Hon. Assistant Section Officer Noor Inayat Khan (code name Madeleine), George Cross, MiD, Croix de Guerre avec Etoile de Vermeil. Noor Inayat Khan served as a wireless operator with F Section, Special Operations Executive. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) The German Penetration of SOE by Jean Overton Fuller My rating: 4 of 5 stars I've been reading about SOE for more than three decades. This is the third book about SOE that I've read so far this year, and it is one of the earliest to point to the man behind the curtain. There is a carefully cultivated view of plucky heroism fighting thuggish Nazis, and prevailing eventually. The reality is clearly quite different. Each of the three books I've read this year has pointed that out (see my reviews of books about Vera Atkins & Nancy Wake). That we know…
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