Defence through intelligence

Another method of defence was through secret intelligence and deception. During the war Trent Park, in Enfield, was a prisoner of war camp where Germans were kept and secretly spied on to gather intelligence. Some of the eavesdropping at Trent Park led to the first understanding of the V weapons and to target bombing missions. Lieutenant General Erwin Menny was one prisoner at Trent Park who had actually seen a flying bomb. His description was secretly recorded…

“They fly so slow that you can see them beautifully. Some of them flew splendidly straight ahead in the right direction for London. But there were others which kept flying in circles until they came down somewhere. Then there were also some which flew in zig-zags. I once saw one which turned off to the left. Some of them came down where we were.”

Another secret recording involved two officers in August 1944 who argued about the ethics of bombing…

ROHRBACH: ‘I am glad it makes them sound the air-raid warning; but we’re nearing the end of the war. It’s no more use going on whipping up people’s feelings now.’

KESSLER: ‘You shouldn’t think that way. Think of the damage the British have caused at home, think how many non-industrial towns and parts of towns they have destroyed.’

ROHRBACH: ‘But it’s no use a dog baying at the moon, hoping it will disappear behind the clouds; it just won’t! We are the defeated. We have known that for a long time. It’s absolutely senseless to go on over and over again angering an opponent with whom we have got to get along.’

KESSLER: ‘But you can’t wage war like that.’

ROHRBACH: ‘The war must be stopped. It can’t be carried on at all.’

KESSLER: ‘I agree – but you can’t continue the war and be considerate at the same time.’

ROHRBACH: ‘This sort of warfare, however, is different from the English way of doing things. They say: “That thing of yours drops just any-damned-where; not a soul can tell where!”’

KESSLER: ‘But they lay bomb-carpets on (Berlin).’

A further secret defence against the V weapons were double agents in Britain who transmitted false information to misinform German forces as to where the V weapons were landing. Information was given which partly persuaded the Germans to unknowingly target the flying bombs short of London.

German prisoners of war at Trent Park camp being escorted on an exercise march. (Image: Bundesarchiv, MSg 2 Bild-14835-05/Unknown/CC-BY-SA)

German prisoners of war at Trent Park camp being escorted on an exercise march. (Image: Bundesarchiv, MSg 2 Bild-14835-05/Unknown/CC-BY-SA)

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