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G.9 Progress Report, 28 March 1944

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This Most Secret report of 28 March 1944 was submitted to the Foreign Secretary and Minister of Information by the Director-General of the Political Warfare Executive Robert H Bruce Lockhart. It charts the progress of the Atlantik/Soldatensender grey radio station, mentioning the increase in number of hours broadcast on medium wave and noting the reaction of German Prisoners of War to the station. Although signed by Bruce Lockhart the report was passed to him by Sefton Delmer.

MOST SECRET

G.9. PROGRESS REPORT

1. Soldatensender Calais, since March 12th, has been radiated for four instead of three hours every night, from 8 till 12 [BST] instead of from 8 till 11 p.m. The short-wave transmissions continue as before from 6.30 p.m. until 8 a.m. the following morning.

2. Fighter Command closures and special operations for Bomber Command have caused us to lose, through closing down, 14% of the maximum possible transmission time for the programme.

A new scheme by which Aspidistra, instead of transmitting jamming signals for the special Bomber Command performances, transmits the normal Calais programme on the target frequency selected by Bomber Command, should in future reduce the amount of time lost.

3. Enemy jamming of our transmission has increased still further in the last month. It has now reached at times the record strength of 10.8.M/V. We have been taking evasive action by switching from one frequency to another during transmissions, which, though it makes the programme more difficult to get, has had the effect of dispersing the jammer forces. The enemy has shown skill in following us quickly. In some instances he has adjusted his jammers to the new frequency within 45 seconds of our appearing on it.

4. Nevertheless, from prisoners of war we continue to receive first-hand evidence that the programme is being widely listened to by the German services.

We now have such a wide clientele of listeners in the U-boat bases that CSDIC report that it is the exception now for a U-Boat man not to have listened to Calais-Atlantik. U-Boat men are ascribing to the station an almost miraculous information service and Calais-Atlantik is now being popularly credited with "news scoops" which, in fact, it has never made. Thus, one German naval officer reports that he heard on Atlantik a story concerning a German brother officer who got drunk in Bordeaux and returning to St. Nazaire by train, fell asleep and was forced to spend the night in the waiting room at Nantes station. He swears that this incident occurred only two days before he heard it described on Calais-Atlantik. In fact we never broadcast such a story at all.

It is reported that naval ratings particularly appreciate the Calais-Atlantik inside news concerning their officers. Possible evidence of the effectiveness of Calais' technique of smear is the removal from his post as C.O. of the 7th U-Boat Flotilla of Korvetten Kapitaen Sohler, whom Calais-Atlantik had constantly ridiculed and attacked as an inefficient, unfair and personally corrupt officer, the first attack being on Atlantik on October 28th. Although it would be over optimistic (and immodest) to attribute Sohler's removal from a post he held for 4 years to Calais - it is nevertheless just possible it may have been partly due to his loss of face and our listeners will certainly hail it as a victory for Calais.

From Air Force Prisoners also we continue to receive evidence of widespread listening. This is not confined to the Western Theatre but includes Italy, as is shown by the CSDIC/A.F.H.Q. report of March 11th based on the interrogation of 301 G[erman] A[irforce] F[orce] prisoners: "Prisoners who had listened to our broadcasts agree on the whole that they have improved of late and acknowledge in particular the efficiency of one station Soldatensender Calais."

5. A counter-propaganda reaction of the Germans has been to start up a new Forces programme for soldiers in the West. They first called it "Soldatensender West", and then, after a naming competition, Soldatensender Goetz von Berlichingen. This station has, on several occasions, carried parodies of the Calais programme.

6. Calais-Atlantik continues to be widely monitored by the neutral press, who, with few exceptions, describe the reports they get from it as coming from "a German source."

 

(Sgd) R. H. Bruce Lockhart

28th March, 1944

 

[Source: TNA FO 898/45, transcribed by www.psywar.org]



 

 

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