For Operation Dragoon, the invasion of the South of France, a number of personnel of the US 7-A with S Force experience joined with personnel from FR 1-A to form a T Force operating in the area. On Aug 15, 1944, the Allies landed on the beaches of the French Riviera. A small Allied Combat Propaganda Team (CPT) landed at St Tropez, tasked to gather political intelligence for the Political Warfare Department of SHAEF. One member of this team was Capt Yurka Galitzine, a Russian prince with an English mother. He was drafted for a T Force operation consisting of three officers, one French, one American, and one British. Their job was to report in detail what the retreating German Army had left behind. They visited the Gestapo HQ in Nice, where they found 11 bodies in the cellar – one was the daughter of the local mayor, seven months pregnant (28), a stark reminder that some T Force targets were likely to be dangerous for the hunters.
Following the SHAEF Intelligence Directive No 17, instructing the US 6 and 12-AGs to establish operational T Forces, the 6-AG established a provisional T Force using staff from its No 2 Intelligence Collection Unit (successor to S Force) on Oct 12, 1944. The task given to the formation was to identify the intelligence assets of a target city and establish a plan to capture and hold its assets. It was not the T Force mission to analyze the captured assets. Prior to an operation, therefore, the T Force would therefore have an influx of intelligence specialists from various agencies to do this analysis. Strasbourg was the first major city targeted by the 6-AG. Most of the Americans of the main T Force in this area were used to form the nucleus of the 6860th Headquarters Detachment, Intelligence Assault Force (T Force).
The T Force entered Strasbourg on Nov 23, 1944, after having already suffered casualties overnight from delayed action mines and German artillery on and around their Command Post in Saarbourg. A signal from G2 US 7-A to G2 SHAEF dated Dec 18, 1944, recommended the deployment of appropriate intelligence specialists to Strasbourg to examine and secure documents and records in the Gauleitung building. The building contained party records, official correspondence, Volksturm records, official documents pertaining to the execution of Allied airmen, local civil service and political records, Gestapo records, and more. (29)
The T Force not only captured Gestapo files. They also found the plans for the first jet aircraft engine as well as a prototype engine at the SA Junkers 88 plant at Matford (a fusion of the Ford and French Mathis factories in Strasbourg). (30) The plant, listed as CIOS Target 19/21, had a dismantled model of the engine in a secret room. (31) On Dec 7, 1944, it was arranged for CIOS expert Flt Lt Sproule to travel to Paris, where Air Int SHAEF arranged transport for him to Strasbourg to investigate the engine. (32) Members of the Alsos Mission found in Strasbourg that working with the 6-AG’s T Force was so restrictive that they withdrew from the T Force and got the US 7-A to both authorize their independent entry and provide local T Force support to help guard the Alsos’ targets in Strasbourg. (33)
A truckload of the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) records was taken by Ensign Allan Oakley Hunter USNR, an OSS officer with the the 6-AG SCIU. He and Lt Lewis Allbee USNR convinced a force of 60 Waffen-SS troops armed with automatic pistols that the war was over and that they should march towards Freiburg to be taken as POWs by the Americans rather than the French. (34) Capt Akeley P Quirk USN, the OC of the SCIU, found an operational German Hellschreiber (an electronic device like a teletype machine, except that it automatically scrambles outgoing messages and unscrambles incoming messages). The machine was recovered from the SD HQ, along with a diagram of the Gestapo teleprinter network throughout Germany, with their call signs. The SCIU spent a further 4 days searching through the HQ building. (35)
Strasbourg was Phase 1 of a four-stage operational plan for the T Force. They moved on to operations against Frankenthal-Ludwigshafen, Mannheim, Heidelberg, Karlsruhe and Wurzburg in Phase 2; Stuttgart, Munich, and Berchtesgarden in Phase 3; Augsburg and Ulm were designated as part of the last phase (though this phase may not have been completed).
Col Pumpelly and his T Force entered Ludwigshafen around Mar 22. The 6-AG SCIU picked up several Gestapo officials and transported them back to a building they had commandeered in Frankenthal. They used one of the political prisoners released from this prison as a spotter to identify Gestapo and Sicherheitsdienst in Ludwigshafen. The city had been bombed once or twice daily for over four months, and there was literally not a single building standing in a town that was not undamaged, and most of them were knocked flat. (36) The remaining population had been living inside their underground shelters for months. (The Alsos Mission won the race against the T Force at the IG Farben Plant in Ludwigshafen, arriving a day earlier, on Mach 23).
On Mar 25, the T Force entered Mannheim, and took the Daimler-Benz Factory on Mar 26, as their HQ. Capt Quirk of the 6-AG SCIU had to divert to Kaiserslautern and then Vittel to deal with three captured German agents. They then moved to Trois-Epées to see several captured men from SS-Sturmbannführer Otto Skorzeny’s sabotage unit, along with some items of their equipment. This included a cane made from plastic explosive with a time delay detonator and an overcoat made of soft plastic explosive material resembling rubber. They contained enough explosives to destroy a ten-room house. (37) This explosive was called Nipolit. According to the Official History of the British Security Service, written immediately post-war, the Allies had only obtained their first sample of this explosive in September 1944, when a sample disguised as a leather belt was acquired by a Turkish double agent. Samples were later obtained in many other forms, including underwater bombs twenty feet long and six feet in diameter as well as hand grenades! (38)
In Heidelberg, in Apr 1945, the T Force was able to locate important documents and personnel of Brown Boveri & Company and IG Farben, both regarded as important intelligence targets. Much of the captured material collected here was transported back to the USA for exploitation and was microfilmed before being returned to the new German government. Munich had been entered on Apr 30 and the radio station, which had still been operating, was seized. In May the T Force helped with the liberation of the Dachau Concentration Camp and went with the US 7-A elements into the Nazi Redoubt Region, where they uncovered tons of valuable documents hidden in caves and sunk to the bottom of lakes in special containers. (39) Lt Raymond F Newkirk and Sgt James Utrecht of X2 OSS were assigned as an SCIU to Y Force, 6-AG. These men, together with Maj McGettigan of T Force conducted a number of interrogations at Hermann Goering’s Staff HQ, from which they identified the location of Goering’s hidden art treasures in the Berchtesgaden area (Goering himself had surrendered to the US Army in Berchtesgaden). Although very well hidden, the artwork was unprotected from the damp conditions and would have been ruined if it had not been found so promptly. The loot was passed to the care of US 7-A and the OSS X2 Art Unit was informed. (40) According to OSS records the OSS SCI units operating with T Forces at 6 and the 12-AGs seized large quantities of counter-espionage material, which was forwarded through Army Documents channels to the Counter-intelligence War Room in London.
The head of the War Room estimated that one such T Force operation, concluded in three days, netted identifying information on more than 20.000 German intelligence personnel. This virtually doubled the information on German intelligence personnel which had been made available through all previous Allied counter-espionage operations during the war. (41)
DIVIDING THE SPOILS – FRIENDS AND FOES
As the stories of the 30 AU and the Alsos Mission have hinted, the Allies were in a race for technical intelligence. The numerous British and American intelligence collecting teams under the umbrella of the T Forces were often working in competition, not only with the French and the Russians but also with each other. As well as CI units like the SCIUs, CIC, and FSS, T Forces were responsible for scientific and technical teams such as
– Chemical Warfare Services
– Enemy Equipment Intelligence Service (EEIS) – located Axis equipment, such as new aircraft, tanks, ammunition, metalworking equipment, etc. for evaluation and to instruct Allied personnel in its use. Later, the unit was used to evaluate German industrial equipment in general
– US Army Ordnance Rocket Branch
– Strategic Bombing Survey Teams (investigating the effects of the bombing on the German Economy)
– Technical Industrial Intelligence Branch (TIIB; later the TIIC, Technical Industrial Intelligence Committee) – was established as an agency of the Joint Chiefs of Staff but transferred to the Department of Commerce in January 1946. Its task was to investigate German industries and obtain any information that might be of interest to American companies. The Annual Report of the Secretary of Commerce for 1946 talks about 3.500.000 pages that TIIB selected for copying. (42) TIIB collected more than 300.000 pounds of German equipment and product samples as well as 200 tons of materials captured by the Army and Navy;
– Navy Technical Mission, Europe – originally a part of the Alsos Mission, assigned to investigate German advances in synthetic fuels and lubricants of interest to the Navy
– TOM (Technical Oil Mission) – A non-military group sponsored by the US Bureau of Mines made up of American and British petroleum experts and charged with investigating the industrial production of synthetic fuels and lubricants from coal using the Fischer-Tropsch method, and other specialists such as the 30 AU and (MIST) Mission d’Information Scientifique et Technique.
Under the auspices of CIOS, the French government deployed their Mission d’Information Scientifique et Technique (MIST) in occupied Germany during the second half of 1945, tracking down atomic scientists and secret weapons on behalf of the French. The 30 AU personnel reported that they had been successful in small teams searching their targets in the Paris area immediately after the occupation, but after several days they found several of their targets already searched and cleaned out by the French Deuxième Bureau. They claimed that the documents seized from these targets were never made available to the British or the Americans. (43)
28. The Secret Hunters, by Anthony Kemp, Michael O’Mara Books, 1986, 36-37
29. WO 219/818, G2 7th Army signal to G2 SHAEF MAIN dtd 18 Dec 1944, (UK National Archives)
30. The 6860th Headquarters Detachment Intelligence Assault Force (“T” Force), by Les Hughes, 1977
31. WO 219/818, 6 AG G2 signal to SHAEF MAIN for Strong dtd 27 Nov 1944, (UK National Archives)
32. WO 219/818, SHAEF REAR signal from Strong from Magnus SHAEF MAIN dtd 7 Dec 1944, (UK National Archives)
33. The ALSOS Mission, by Col Boris T Pash, 136
34. Recollections of World War II, by Akeley P Quirk, USNR (Ret), Sultana Press 1981, 103
35. Recollections of World War II, by Akeley P Quirk, USNR (Ret), Sultana Press 1981, 75-76
36. Recollections of World War II, by Akeley P Quirk, USNR (Ret), Sultana Press 1981, 98
37. Recollections of World War II, by Akeley P Quirk, USNR (Ret), Sultana Press 1981, 98-101
38. The Security Service 1908-1945, the Official History, by John Curry, 239
39. The 6860th Headquarters Detachment Intelligence Assault Force (“T” Force), by Les Hughes, 1977
40. Recollections of World War II, by Akeley P Quirk, USNR (Ret), Sultana Press 1981, 121-122
41. History of US CI Vol 2, (Footnotes), RG226, Entry 176, Box 2 of 2
42. United States Department of Commerce. Report of the Secretary of Commerce, 34th, 1946. Washington, DC: GPO, 1946
43. History of 30 AU, by Guy Allan Farrin, (ebook) 2007, 68-69