snopes.com Post new topic  Post a reply
search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hello snopes.com » Urban Legends » Military » Blind spy watched Nazi defences being built.

 - UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!    
Author Topic: Blind spy watched Nazi defences being built.
skeptic
Deck the Malls


Icon 1 posted      Profile for skeptic         Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
During the Second World War, the Nazis were expecting an invasion from England and closed off all the French beaches so that no-one could report on the defences being built there. But an old blind French man was allowed to walk along the beach guided by his young grandson. Unknown to the Germans, the boy was telling his grandfather about the gun emplacements and the grandfather in turn passed this information on to the British.
I hope this is true as it is a lovely story.

--------------------
I like free speech. It lets me know who the idiots are.

Posts: 407 | From: Ireland | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
diddy
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


Icon 1 posted      Profile for diddy   E-mail diddy   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
How would the grandson know the details of the base and tell his grandfather accurately without somebody hearing him. If they were willing to close everything so that no one could get in, why let the grandson in?

--------------------
W.W.F.S.M.D?
But this image of Bush as some sort of Snidely Whiplash tying the fair maiden to the railroad tracks is beyond the pale. - Joe Bentley

Posts: 2311 | From: Minnnesota | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
snopes
Return! Return! Return!


Icon 216 posted      Profile for snopes   Author's Homepage   E-mail snopes       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
How would the grandson know the details of the base and tell his grandfather accurately without somebody hearing him.
Because the beach wasn't so crammed full of German soldiers that they were always within earshot of one. Or, the boy could have remembered what he'd seen and related it to his grandfather shortly afterwards in private.

quote:
If they were willing to close everything so that no one could get in, why let the grandson in?
Because he was just a boy, and his blind grandfather needed a guide.

- snopes

Posts: 36029 | From: Admin | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
diddy
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


Icon 1 posted      Profile for diddy   E-mail diddy   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Because the beach wasn't so crammed full of German soldiers that they were always within earshot of one. Or, the boy could have remembered what he'd seen and related it to his grandfather shortly afterwards in private
What of the details, what could the boy give that quick ariel photographer not figure out. I assume that this is a young boy, how is he going to get the kind of detail that intelligence would need?

I still wonder why they let the grandfather in the first place, simply being blind doesn't mean that you cannot see certain things, assuming that he could've and this was a secret project this guy could still hear... All it would take is a "This is a restricted area, no trespassing!" To keep the locals out. Why risk a security breach. Certainly the Germans were smart enough to realize that you don't need eyes, to get details?

--------------------
W.W.F.S.M.D?
But this image of Bush as some sort of Snidely Whiplash tying the fair maiden to the railroad tracks is beyond the pale. - Joe Bentley

Posts: 2311 | From: Minnnesota | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Troberg
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Troberg     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Certainly the Germans were smart enough to realize that you don't need eyes, to get details?
Or that a supposedly blind man is not necessarily blind for real.

--------------------
/Troberg

Posts: 4360 | From: Borlänge, Sweden | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Gavida
Deck the Malls


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Gavida   E-mail Gavida   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
But this story has to be true, by forbidding the old man and his grandson to walk the restricted beach
the german soldiers would have acted clever and we can not have that, can we now? [Wink]

Gavida

--------------------
"He looked bigger when I couldn't see him" - Jayne Cobb

Posts: 359 | From: Essen, NRW, Germany | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Don Enrico
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Don Enrico   E-mail Don Enrico   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by diddy:
What of the details, what could the boy give that quick ariel photographer not figure out.

Details that were disguised against arial observers, but not against those on the ground - for example the number and direction of openings for machine guns in the sides of bunkers?

I know that the Allies knew everything about the (disguised) defence buildings along the Danish coast, because there was a spy in the Copenhagen based architects firm that was doing the planning for those buildings. He copied the blueprints and smuggeld them to (IIRC) British intelligence, signing them with a picture of a pipe-smoking turtle, hence his name "skildpaddespionen" - "The turtle spy". The main point of information he gave where the placement and direction of guns.

Don Enrico

--------------------
My spelling is Wobbly. It's good spelling, but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places. - Pooh Bear

Posts: 2209 | From: Hamburg, Germany | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
diddy
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


Icon 1 posted      Profile for diddy   E-mail diddy   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Don Enrico:
quote:
Originally posted by diddy:
What of the details, what could the boy give that quick ariel photographer not figure out.

Details that were disguised against arial observers, but not against those on the ground - for example the number and direction of openings for machine guns in the sides of bunkers?

I know that the Allies knew everything about the (disguised) defence buildings along the Danish coast, because there was a spy in the Copenhagen based architects firm that was doing the planning for those buildings. He copied the blueprints and smuggeld them to (IIRC) British intelligence, signing them with a picture of a pipe-smoking turtle, hence his name "skildpaddespionen" - "The turtle spy". The main point of information he gave where the placement and direction of guns.

Don Enrico

Hmm, ok, I could accept that, but he would have to be a bit older than I was thinking maybe to get all those details without drawing attention...

--------------------
W.W.F.S.M.D?
But this image of Bush as some sort of Snidely Whiplash tying the fair maiden to the railroad tracks is beyond the pale. - Joe Bentley

Posts: 2311 | From: Minnnesota | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
skeptic
Deck the Malls


Icon 1 posted      Profile for skeptic         Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Another thought occured to me - Did the Germans use fakes or decoys like the British did (They created an entire ficticious army that was supposed to attack Calais).
An aerial photo might show a gun emplacement, but a closer look would reveal it as a phony.

--------------------
I like free speech. It lets me know who the idiots are.

Posts: 407 | From: Ireland | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Majorsam
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Majorsam   E-mail Majorsam   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I don't consider this story wholly implausible, although I can't find any reference to it in a couple of books I have on D-Day. However there are many, many stories of civillians taking remarkable risks & being very clever in intelligence gathering. We tend to hear more about the successes because those that were slever & failed didn't get reported.

Remember that not all the forces manning the Atlantic Wall were German. Many of the forces, to the contrary, were non-German conscripts who may have been less concerned with security.

Also, I suspect that any prohibition from locals going to the beach had less to do with counter-intelligence and more with counter-sabotage. Some (and, I suspect, most) of the Atlantic Wall was built with civilian contractors, not uniformed military, so keeping people out after the construction to keep things secret would be futile...but keeping them out to prevent sabotage akes sense. If that were the case, a lone old man with a child would probably seem a small threat.

Posts: 15 | From: Kosovo | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Eddylizard
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Eddylizard     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by snopes:
quote:
How would the grandson know the details of the base and tell his grandfather accurately without somebody hearing him.
Because the beach wasn't so crammed full of German soldiers that they were always within earshot of one. Or, the boy could have remembered what he'd seen and related it to his grandfather shortly afterwards in private.
I also wonder how many German army soldiers patrolling the beach were fluent in French. Maybe there was a chance that a passing German guard could have overheard the conversation, but would he have a clue what they were talking about?

--------------------
"Ladies and gentlemen, this is what is commonly known as money. It comes in all sizes, colours, and denominations - like people."

Posts: 997 | From: Maidstone, UK | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Don Enrico
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Don Enrico   E-mail Don Enrico   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by skeptic:
Another thought occured to me - Did the Germans use fakes or decoys like the British did (They created an entire ficticious army that was supposed to attack Calais).
An aerial photo might show a gun emplacement, but a closer look would reveal it as a phony.

I don't know about France, but along the Danish cost, the Germans build (or rather: had build) bunkers and other defence buildings that looked like weekend cottages, small workshops or garages - at least to the not-so-close observer. That's why the work of the "turtle spy" was so important.

Don Enrico

--------------------
My spelling is Wobbly. It's good spelling, but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places. - Pooh Bear

Posts: 2209 | From: Hamburg, Germany | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Mr. Baggins
Deck the Malls


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Mr. Baggins   E-mail Mr. Baggins   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I read that story in a book titled Undercover Takes of World War II, by William Breuer. It's a good book and cites sources. Apparently, the old man had a photographic memory.

--------------------
"The system would also let you send your picture and contact details to a rough trade gay contact mailing list saying you like to be surprised with power tools in a non-consensual role play scenario – but that doesn’t mean you SHOULD do it.!"

Posts: 298 | From: Monterrey, Mexico | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Don Enrico
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Don Enrico   E-mail Don Enrico   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
How would a photographic memory help a man to remember things he can't see (being blind)?

--------------------
My spelling is Wobbly. It's good spelling, but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places. - Pooh Bear

Posts: 2209 | From: Hamburg, Germany | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Mr. Baggins
Deck the Malls


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Mr. Baggins   E-mail Mr. Baggins   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
How about remembering things he did hear from the boy? But hey, don't believe me. Go here http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0471379441/ref=sib_dp_pt/002-3285380-4939203#

Search for music teacher and read it yourself. Pages 172, 173 and 174.

--------------------
"The system would also let you send your picture and contact details to a rough trade gay contact mailing list saying you like to be surprised with power tools in a non-consensual role play scenario – but that doesn’t mean you SHOULD do it.!"

Posts: 298 | From: Monterrey, Mexico | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.

Instant Graemlins
   


Post new topic  Post a reply Close topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Urban Legends Reference Pages

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2