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SOE in France by M.R.D. Foot

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II

What SOE was

 

This brief sketch of the nature, purposes, and organization of SOE must begin with a blinding glimpse of the obvious: special operations have to be wrapped in secrecy. A dense veil of secrecy was indispensable for SOE, a body for mounting surprise attacks in unexpected places: no secrecy, no surprise. The fact that the body existed at all was for long a closely guarded secret. Even within the other armed services, numerous people who dealt with the Inter-Services Research Bureau, or the Joint Technical Board, or Special Training Schools Headquarters, or the Admiralty's NID (Q), or MO I (SP) at the War Office, or AI IO at the Air Ministry – some of SOE's cover descriptions – had no inkling of the real name and nature of their ...

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