Operation Lucy

Title:                  Operation Lucy

Author:                Anthony Read

Read, Anthony (1981) and David Fisher. Operation Lucy: Most Secret Spy Ring of the Second World War. New York: Coward, McCann and Geoghegan, Inc.

LCCN:    80025242

D810.S7 R39 1981

Subjects

Date Updated:  November 6, 2015

While this book is not in print, it is available as a used book. It is the enthralling WWII story of Operation Lucy, a Soviet spy ring that had its operational base in Geneva, Switzerland. From its base the Soviet spies radioed intelligence reports to Moscow. The spies obtained intelligence from high officials in the German High Command beginning in 1939 and continued throughout the war.

During WWII, only a few European countries remained neutral: Sweden, Portugal, and Switzerland. Although each took measures in different ways that tended to assist the Axis powers, they remained officially neutral. In addition, Spain pledged to support the Axis, but held off joining the war. Switzerland continued diplomatic relations with Britain, the United States, the Soviet Union, Germany, and Italy. Since all the major combatants had embassies and consulate offices in Switzerland, it soon became a hotbed of espionage. For Britain, the Swiss connection would provide a way to get Ultra information to the Soviet Union without revealing its source.

The fascinating aspect of this operation is that the British infiltrated the German ring with their own agent and he began supplying Moscow with ally supplied intelligence. Furthermore, this intelligence was entirely accurate because it came as a result of the allies breaking the German enigma-encrypted code. The latter fact was kept from Stalin but the allies wanted, in furtherance of the war effort, to supply him with reliable intelligence. The reason this intelligence was passed to Stalin through Lucy was because Stalin declined ally intelligence, convinced that the allies (especially the British) could not be trusted.

But Stalin totally trusted his Lucy operation because its reports had consistently proven to be accurate. In fact, the intelligence was completely accurate, extremely detailed, and affected the outcome of major battles during the war. For example, during the Battle of Kursk, the intelligence provided included details of the Germans’ plan of battle; the names, locations and strength of the German units; and the names of commanders down to division level. Using this intelligence the Russians were able to anticipate and counter every move the Germans made.

The book notes that in the later battle at Kharkov the Germans were able to prevail because no intelligence was supplied to Moscow concerning that operation. It is difficult to conceive of any other factor that had as much influence on the battle success of the Russians than the intelligence supplied through Lucy. An interesting aspect of this story was the ungrateful manner in which the British later treated their own agent. Because he had been a double agent, he was informed that he could have no future in Britain because he would never be trusted. Indeed, they suggested that his fame earned through Lucy guaranteed him rewards in Russia that he would not receive in Britain. This was outrageous treatment of a man who had risked his life providing loyal and invaluable service to his country.

 

While this book is not in print, it is available as a used book. It is the enthralling WWII story of Operation Lucy, a Soviet spy ring that had its operational base in Geneva, Switzerland. From its base the Soviet spies radioed intelligence reports to Moscow. The spies obtained intelligence from high officials in the German High Command beginning in 1939 and continued throughout the war.

During WWII, only a few European countries remained neutral: Sweden, Portugal, and Switzerland. Although each took measures in different ways that tended to assist the Axis powers, they remained officially neutral. In addition, Spain pledged to support the Axis, but held off joining the war. Switzerland continued diplomatic relations with Britain, the United States, the Soviet Union, Germany, and Italy. Since all the major combatants had embassies and consulate offices in Switzerland, it soon became a hotbed of espionage. For Britain, the Swiss connection would provide a way to get Ultra information to the Soviet Union without revealing its source.

The fascinating aspect of this operation is that the British infiltrated the German ring with their own agent and he began supplying Moscow with ally supplied intelligence. Furthermore, this intelligence was entirely accurate because it came as a result of the allies breaking the German enigma-encrypted code. The latter fact was kept from Stalin but the allies wanted, in furtherance of the war effort, to supply him with reliable intelligence. The reason this intelligence was passed to Stalin through Lucy was because Stalin declined ally intelligence, convinced that the allies (especially the British) could not be trusted.

But Stalin totally trusted his Lucy operation because its reports had consistently proven to be accurate. In fact, the intelligence was completely accurate, extremely detailed, and affected the outcome of major battles during the war. For example, during the Battle of Kursk, the intelligence provided included details of the Germans’ plan of battle; the names, locations and strength of the German units; and the names of commanders down to division level. Using this intelligence the Russians were able to anticipate and counter every move the Germans made.

The book notes that in the later battle at Kharkov the Germans were able to prevail because no intelligence was supplied to Moscow concerning that operation. It is difficult to conceive of any other factor that had as much influence on the battle success of the Russians than the intelligence supplied through Lucy. An interesting aspect of this story was the ungrateful manner in which the British later treated their own agent. Because he had been a double agent, he was informed that he could have no future in Britain because he would never be trusted. Indeed, they suggested that his fame earned through Lucy guaranteed him rewards in Russia that he would not receive in Britain. This was outrageous treatment of a man who had risked his life providing loyal and invaluable service to his country.

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3 Responses to Operation Lucy

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