|"Everything I Write has a Precedent in Truth" Ian Fleming|
Ben Macintyre writes, "Bond is, in part, Fleming. The exploits of 007 grow directly out of Fleming's knowledge of wartime intelligence and espionage; they shared similar tastes and even attitudes towards women; they even look similar...But Bond is also, in part, what Fleming was not. He was the fantasy of what Fleming would like to have been -- indeed, what every Englishman raised on Bulldog Drummond and wartime derring-do would like to have been. Bond is a grown up romantic fairy tale, a promise that Britain, having triumphed in the World War, was still a force to be reckoned with in the dull chill of the Cold War. In the grim austerity of postwar Britain, here was a man dining on champagne and caviar, enjoying guiltless sex, glamorous foreign travel, and an apparently unlimited expense account." For Your Eyes Only: Ian Fleming + James Bond, Ben Macintyre, 2008 (www.amzn.com/1596915447).
Naval Intelligence is, as Rankin tells us, "any information that gave advantage to His Majesty's Royal Navy in operational security and effectiveness."
|Lieutenant Commander Ian Fleming RNVR, 1908 - 1964|
In 1943, Fleming assisted in engineering disinformation projects such as Operation Mincemeat (www.amzn.com/0307453286) that planted the corpse of a fake naval officer with phony plans for an invasion of Greece that helped divert Axis forces from the real target -- Sicily.
Fleming once said, "Everything I write has a precedent in truth." In Rankin's book you see how Fleming real life experience helped to inform and shape his later fiction.
30 Assault Unit's greatest coup of the war was the discovery of the German naval archive based in Tambach castle that housed naval records for two world wars. This "library contained the complete operational logs, war diaries, technical reports and administrative minutes of all German navy business" dating back all the way to 1870. This data was not merely of immense historical interest. German "snorkel" submarine technology and experiment with hydrogen peroxide propulsion systems were the most advanced in the world at this time. This treasury trove of intelligence would help guide the direction of the Royal Navy in the post-war era.
Rankin's book is loaded with interesting Bond-like anecdotes (see earlier post "Hemingway Liberates the Ritz Bar Paris, 10/10/12) such as this: "Training certainly paid off for Norwegian SOE agent Knut Haugland. On 1 April 1944 a hundred Germans trapped him in the Oslo hospital where he was operating a secret radio hidden in a chimney. When eight Germans came pounding up the stairs, Haugland crouched in a dark corner and then made a dash for it, Two other Germans emerged, whom he shot and killed. He made his way down to the cellars where he encountered four more Germans; one he killed, another he fired at, and tow others fled. A fifth appeared and Lt. Haugland shot him at 30 yards with the last shots in his magazine. he put int a fresh magazine as he emerged from the cellar down into the grounds. He was fired on as he did so, but was not hit; he scaled a 9-foot barbed wire fence and dropped 15 feet into a quiet roadway from the rocks. He took off his overalls, washed his face in the snow and walked leisurely about the streets while the Gestapo prosecuted a search of the whole neighborhood. His look-out came through the controls in a car, picked him up and they drove quietly away. The place from which Lt. Haugland transmitted in the chimney was not discovered, and the W/T set was recovered several weeks later."
|Italian Covert Operation: Olterra|
|Emilio Largo's "Underwater Chariot"|
Rankin later mentions how Bill Donovan of the OSS managed to "pinch" Italian Admiral Minsini and other Italian engineers and technicians who worked on the Italian submarine programme. Rankin writes, "Minisini and his Italian submarine engineers all ended up at the American Naval Torpedo Station at Goat Island, Newport Bay, Rhode Island, working on improving American underwater weaponry".
Rankin omits to mention my own personal pet theory about the transformation of World War II history into Bond fiction. My thesis holds that the Pussy Galore's all woman Flying Circus from Goldfinger (www.amzn.com/1612185509/) was inspired the the real life Night Witches ("Nacthexen") of the Soviet Red Air force (see earlier post, Night Witches of World War II, 6/28/12).
Commander Kelly says, "If you enjoy tales of World War II espionage and would like to learn more about how Ian Fleming transmogrified these into the fictional world of James Bond, then you will love Ian Fleming's Commandos: The Story of 30 Assault Unit in World War II (www.amzn.com/0199782822).
Skyfall premieres in the UK, October 26 2012
You can now purchase Commander Kelly's first book, America Invades here...www.americainvades.com or on Amazon...www.amzn.com/1940598427