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  • SIM break the British October 12, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary , trackback

    sim vs the british

    Beach has sometimes in this place celebrated Italian achievements in the Second World War; small footnotes against the prevailing tide of Italian incompetence and mediocrity in that conflict. Perhaps the area where the Italians most frequently and effectively proved their mettle was in intelligence work. Britain’s SIS (MI6) felt that the Japanese Kempeitai were incompetent, the Gestapo and cousins mediocre, but they came to respect SIM (Servizio Informazione Militare) Italy’s intelligence network, both for its spying feats abroad and for its counter-intelligence work within Italy.

    The most dramatic and little known achievement of SIM was to turn Britain’s own spying network in Italy itself, something of course that the British had done to the German networks in the UK (such as they were). Britain had a number of agents in the peninsula working for SIS, it also had agents working out of Yugoslavia on cross-border work. After Italy’s surrender the royalist workers in SIM began to cooperate with Britain’s SIS and in November 1943 SIM agreed to fully share the information that they had with the British. To SIS’s horror they listed the majority of British agents working in Italy as either double or burnt agents. British projects had been carefully observed and misinformation had been fed back to London. The British had been almost entirely played.

    Only two ‘assets’ were felt to be outside the net: Prince Caracciola and Ugo La Malfa, later leader of Italy’s Republican Party and a passionate opponent of colour television (!). Both had anti-fascists reputations and as such were not particularly valuable for deep intelligence work. It was game set and match to Italy, then: save, of course, for the fact that American, Dominion and British troops were marching hard towards Rome. Spies can delay or misdirect armies, but they can’t beat them. The soft underbelly of the Axis was bleeding out and even the best counter-espionage could not save the Duce’s Italy.

    Other spy studies: drbeachcombing At yahoo DOT com

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