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Random PSYOP leaflet - Völkischer Beobachter, 10 October 1941


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Report on the Effectiveness of Soldatensender Calais

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The following memorandum gives evidence of the effectiveness of the Political Warfare Executive's grey propaganda radio station Atlantik/Soldatensender Calais. It shows that the German authorities took extensive measures to jam the station and instructed their troops not to tune in. Nevertheless Soldatensender Calais continued to be listened to by German service personnel.



Soldatensender Calais has now been operating on Aspidistra since 14th November [1943] for three hours daily between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. The transmissions have occasionally been interrupted at the request of the Air Ministry.

I give below some evidence of the effectiveness of these programmes:-

1. Reaction of Enemy Authorities

(a) We know from prisoners that as soon as the Service started German C.O.s (e.g. at Eindhoven airfield) called their men together and informed them that it was British and must not be listened to on pain of arrest.

(b) Heavy jamming was immediately started, transmitters being taken off ordinary German programmes for this purpose. To meet the jamming, which reached an unprecedented strength, we added to the number of alternative frequencies and we are now able to change frequencies in mid-programme, hopping from one to another. The enemy reaction to this has been to jam all the frequencies, whether we are using them or not, even though they thus prevent the transmission of their own programmes.

(c) The Propaganda Ministry reacted publicly in a speech by Frizsche in which Calais was described (without being named) as one of "the illegitimate children of the B.B.C." and an attempt was made to pillory some of its reports. There have been an increased number of reactions to other reports put out by Calais, as for instance one on the abuse of diplomatic rations by Party bosses.

2. Listening by German Service Personnel

Evidence from German Air Force, Navy and Mercantile Marine prisoners shows that Calais/Atlantik is being heard by Germans in as widely separated regions as the South Atlantik (sic) (Blockade-runner "Alster Ufer") and Altenfjord in Norway (Scharnhorst); that airmen, sailors and U-boat men have listened while on operations; that it is not unusual for officers to listen in their messes; and that officers from the German Navy have listened in company with officers from the German Air Force.

Prisoners generally show themselves impressed with the accuracy, detail and interest of the information provided. The music is appreciated; and some P's/W have said that German service personnel preferred Calais/Atlantik to their own German stations. They attribute the starting-up by their own people of such programmes as Soldatensender Annemarie to a desire to compete with Calais.

As an example of the operational effectiveness of Calais, two P/W reports on the effect of our blockade-runner campaign may be quoted. One is from the Captain and Wireless Operator of the sunk blockade-runner "Alster Ufer". These men listened all the way from the Cape and were depressed by what they thought was our complete knowledge of the movements of blockade-runners. The other is from a German Air Force officer who was sent under conditions of the utmost secrecy to interview blockade-runner captains waiting in the Gironde and was amazed to hear us address a message to the hush-hush ships concerning their forthcoming operations. These ships have not yet dared to set out.


17th. February 1944.

[Source: TNA WO 219/4752, transcribed by]



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