My husband knows me very well. On a trip to London some time ago, when I was in the midst of research, he visited the Imperial War Museum.
Not only did he take photographs for me of a Norwegian Resistance radio (above) and various other secret agent gadgets, he bought me one of the best presents I could have hoped for: a book called, ‘The Secret Agent’s Pocket Manual’. What could be better when you’re trying to write about clandestine activities during WW2?
I got a lot of practical advice from this corking wee book, particularly from the chapter entitled: ‘Simple Sabotage Field Manual, 1944’. Sabotage, it would seem is on a spectrum. From the art of everyday sabotage – opportunisitc, subtle, ‘the human element’ causing delays, accidents and ‘general obstruction’ right up to highly planned physical acts of mass destruction.
‘Simple sabotage does not require specially prepared tools or equipment; it is executed by an ordinary citizen – who may or may not act individually and without the necessity for active connection with an organised group; and it is carried out in such a way as to incolve a minimum danger or injury, detection, and reprisal.’
Sabotage, it emerged, was to become a major theme in ‘The Revenge of Tirpitz’.