Photo series partisan war against the German occupation – 9 photos
In the event of an invasion, the British trained an army of resistance fighters. Teenagers were preferred because of their naive beliefs. Since the Germans never landed, little is known about Churchill’s secret troops.
In 1940, the Third Reich was at the height of its power. Hitler had conquered Poland, France, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands and Belgium in quick succession and his troops were preparing to occupy England. In fact, a series of mistakes prevented the German Luftwaffe from gaining air supremacy over the island. Without air dominance (Battle of Britain – when the German Luftwaffe lost air superiority), the planned landing was called off – because the Germans were no match for the navy at sea.
Planning for day X
But that was not known in 1940. So the British planned in the worst case scenario: namely that the Germans could land and occupy large parts of the country.
And then a resistance army of teenagers would confront them. For this partisan group, which should have operated in secret, carefully selected young people were chosen, including a surprising number of girls.
Later in the war, the British trained resistance fighters from occupied Europe. The successes of these partisans in France, the Netherlands or Norway, for example, showed that the trainers understood their trade. Not only did they train civilians to kill, but the British knew the structure of a clandestine organization. Very different from the German werewolf, who was so centralized and bureaucratic that it would have been easy to excavate the cells – had it come to a partisan war.
At that time, the British commandos also successfully operated on the coasts of the occupied territory (Mad Jack Churchill – the man who fought the Nazis with sword and bow). Their methods were similar to those of the Resistance.
In short, Churchill’s men were experts and knew what they were doing. Since there was never an invasion and all recruits were sworn to secrecy, little was known about the force known as Section VII.
secrecy till death
The first publication on this subject was by Andrew Chatterton. “These preparations contradict our idea that our defense against the invasion actually consisted of Papa’s army standing on the cliffs — armed only with a pitchfork.” This “Home Guard” is still good for movie comedies to this day.
But Section VII recruits were mostly reservists either too young or too old to be drafted into the regular armed forces. Teenagers were preferred. “Teenagers made good recruits because they were naive enough to take action without thinking too much about the consequences and because they were fit and active.” Girls were generally considered less suspicious. The British already knew then that the Germans were going to attack saboteurs. On the one hand, the Germans acted with great brutality, but at the same time they deployed their best detectives to track down resistance groups. The otherwise unrealistic series “Das Boot” gives a good insight into how the German criminals acted against the resistance (“Das Boot”: diving into a world of depth charges, sex and murder).
Due to secrecy, there are only a few testimonials from partisans. Irene Lockley, of the village of South Milford, West Yorkshire, only told her daughter Jenny shortly before her death how she had been trained “to kill and maim the enemy and do as much harm as possible”. She was shown how to derail trains and how to make Molotov cocktails – a mixture of oil and gasoline. The young girl learned hand-to-hand combat without weapons and learned how to quietly strangle Nazi soldiers with a wire loop. The then 18-year-old Pricilla Ross of Hornchurch was probably chosen because she had mastered the virtues of a lady in the country. She could ride and could wield both the bow and the sword. The base of their cell was a room under a grave in the cemetery.
Chatterton is sure that Britain was well prepared for the invasion. Several layers of civilian defense would have been present during a landing. According to him, Britain had prepared a remarkable resistance force.
“We don’t know exactly how many civilians were recruited, but it was nationwide. This is in contrast to our picture of Britain in 1940. Hundreds, probably thousands, of ‘ordinary’ civilians, men, women and children, were trained to to take on the most dangerous tasks against an occupying power.” The author regrets that the young people’s commitment was never made public. After all, they were ready to “make the ultimate sacrifice for their country.”
Source: Andrew Chatterton “Britain’s Secret Defense: Civilian Saboteurs, Spies and Assassins”; Telegraph
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Mad Jack Churchill – the man who fought the Nazis with a sword and bow
Battle of Britain – when the German Luftwaffe lost air supremacy)
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