Project Eagle: The Top-Secret OSS Operation That Sent Polish Spies Behind Enemy Lines in World War II

Stackpole. Jun. 2024. 256p. ISBN 9780811775410. $32.95. MILITARY HISTORY
Micgiel (East European studies, Univ. of Warsaw) is the former director of Columbia University’s East European Center. In this book, he tells a little-known story about one of the things that happened as Allied forces entered Germany during the Second World War. The Office of Strategic Service (OSS)—the Unites States’ intelligence agency during World War II—sent a number of spy missions ahead of the battle lines. Most of these spies were Polish and had been forcibly conscripted into the Wehrmacht, the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany, then were captured by the Allies in France and Italy and put into Allied POW camps. That’s where the OSS recruited these spies from and trained them. All were provided with false papers and radios and parachuted into Germany, often mere days ahead of the arrival of the battle lines. Their lives very much at risk, they tried to collect local intelligence on forces, bomb damage, and the collapsing Reich authorities. Much of the book is quoted from after-action reports with some redactions, as many of the operatives kept silent about their activities, even after the war.
VERDICT These reports on a relatively small part of the war offer a glimpse of the problems and successes of inserting agents into enemy territory. Recommended for large World War II collections.
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