Wednesday, September 21, 2005

History: Nazi Chocolate Bar

The British National Archives offer a steady stream of revelations about the eccentricities of espionage:

MI5 files reveal secrets of exploding chocolate bars
"Chocolate bombe"

Newly released files reveal German techniques for camouflaging sabotage equipment (KV4 /284)- these include drawings and photographs of an exploding chocolate bar and a mess tin concealing bomb equipment. Original German propaganda leaflets (KV3/210) feature a spoof Evening Standard article and a peculiar document claiming to have been issued by supporters of Hitler in Whitehall that sets out the fate of England after it is defeated.

The full inventory of disguised weapons dreamed up by the Germans for their secret agents is not just an amusing bit of James-Bondian fantasy from the past, it's a cautionary set of precedents for terrorism today:


KV 4/283 (1940-1941) – bombs disguised as a tea canteen, a can of peas, a suitcase, a mess tin, a can of motor oil, a thermos flask; detonators disguised as a pen and pencil set, a torch battery, shaving soap and a shaving brush, a tin of talcum powder, a clothes brush; toilet soap; a fuse hidden in a leather belt.
KV 4/284 (1942-1943) – bombs disguised as lumps of coal, a can of motor oil, a booby-trapped attaché case, a car battery, a can of cleaning polish, firelighters, throat pastilles, a tin of cassoulet and a tin of Smedley’s English red dessert plums; a hand-grenade disguised as a slab of eating chocolate.
KV 4/285 (1943-1945) – bombs disguised as a grinding stone, a belt, the heels and soles of a boot, a bolt-head, a tin of chub in tomato sauce, and a tin of Australian fruit salad.

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