WW1 / WW2 / 20th Century

357 items found
A Very Good Condition German 1936 SS-Polizei Officer's Degan By WKC, SS  {Schutzstaffel} Sigrunen Rune Stamped Blade

A Very Good Condition German 1936 SS-Polizei Officer's Degan By WKC, SS {Schutzstaffel} Sigrunen Rune Stamped Blade

One of the best condition examples we have seen. It would be near impossible to find a better looking example. Near perfect condition steel degan hilt, with black ribbed grip, bound with original wire, and with its original inset badge of the Third Reich German Police, and officer's extended pommel. Blade maker marked by WKC, Solingen, with the sigrunen rune SS stamp.

The Police and the SS officers shared this common pattern of sword from 1936 onwards. Although a solely serving SS officer may have a sigrunen rune badged hilt to his sword, a Police or combined Police/SS officer may have the Police badged hilt. The Ordnungspolizei was separate from the SS and maintained a system of insignia and Orpo ranks. It was possible for policemen to be members of the SS but without active duties. Police generals who were members of the SS were referred to simultaneously by both rank titles during the war. For instance, a Generalleutnant in the Police who was also an SS member would be referred to as SS Gruppenführer und Generalleutnant der Polizei. In addition, those Orpo police generals that undertook the duties of both Senior SS and Police Leader (Höhere SS und Polizeiführer) gained equivalent Waffen-SS ranks in August 1944 when Himmler was appointed Chef der Ersatzheeres (Chief of Home Army), because they had authority over the prisoner-of-war camps in their area.

Heinrich Himmler's ultimate aim was to replace the regular police forces of Germany with a combined racial/state protection corps (Staatsschutzkorps) of pure SS units. Local law enforcement would be undertaken by the Allgemeine-SS with the Waffen-SS providing homeland-security and political-police functions. Historical analysis of the Third Reich has revealed that senior Orpo personnel knew of Himmler's plan and were opposed to it. Very good blade, good scabbard with no denting some paint wear. Very good bright hilt, with just light natural age wear, just traces of old pitting to the iron scabbard. Original paint present to the scabbard  read more

Code: 25314

1695.00 GBP

A Very Scarce Original Great War WW1 German Sniper's Armour Breast And Shoulder Armour and Tasset Protector Pads, And Very Rare Sniper's Butt Stock Rest

A Very Scarce Original Great War WW1 German Sniper's Armour Breast And Shoulder Armour and Tasset Protector Pads, And Very Rare Sniper's Butt Stock Rest

In superb condition, this is a very scarce example and survivor of WW1 as more often than not they are in near relic condition and very pitted.
This is the first in some time in this amazing state of preservation, that we have even seen that not only had provision for the snipers butt rest in front of his right shoulder, but it is still present. It enabled the rifle to be snugly rested against the breast plate and not slip upon firing. The snipers and machine gunners armour often came with lower groin protectors, but these were optional to remove for snipers {as this one has had} for when in the prone position for sniping the lower plates would be more of a hinderence than a benefit.

Trench raids at night by both sides were a feature of the Western Front; the object being to kill the occupants of a trench and take a few prisoners who might provide information on enemy strength and intentions. The Germans formed units of Stosstruppen for this purpose. They were issued with a medieval-style breastplate and visored helmet as protection in brutal man-to-man fighting. The armour proved to be too heavy and impracticable for this purpose but was often worn by German snipers, together with a reinforced helmet. German snipers used armour-piercing bullets that allowed them to penetrate loopholes. Another means to see over the parapet was the trench periscope – in its simplest form, just a stick with two angled pieces of mirror at the top and bottom. A number of armies made use of the periscope rifle, which enabled soldiers to snipe at the enemy without exposing themselves over the parapet, although at the cost of reduced shooting accuracy.

Trench warfare proliferated when a revolution in firepower was not matched by similar advances in mobility, resulting in a grueling form of warfare in which the defender held the advantage. On the Western Front in 1914–1918, both sides constructed elaborate trench, underground, and dugout systems opposing each other along a front, protected from assault by barbed wire. The area between opposing trench lines (known as "no man's land") was fully exposed to artillery fire from both sides. Attacks, even if successful, often sustained severe casualties.

The development of armoured warfare and combined arms tactics permitted static lines to be bypassed and defeated, leading to the decline of trench warfare after the war. Following World War I, "trench warfare" became a byword for stalemate, attrition, sieges, and futility in conflict  read more

Code: 25307

1650.00 GBP

A Superb Pair of WW2 German Kriegsmarine

A Superb Pair of WW2 German Kriegsmarine "U-boat" Fixed-Focus Binoculars. “Doppelfernrohr 7 X 50 für U-Boote ‘U-Bootglas 7X50’”

These are an original pair of German, WW2 U-Boat commanders binoculars, and for desirability simply cannot be bettered. This delightful pair are in fabulous condition, with all the rubbers and lenses in lovely condition for age, with all the usual wear as to be expected.
Third Reich WW2 period code marked. With superb fixed focusing, excellent optics and lenses, just a very little condensation misting.

Winston Churchill claimed that the 'U-boat peril' was the only thing that ever really frightened him during WWII. This was when German submarines attacked the Atlantic lifeline to try to starve Britain into submission.

In WWII the British troop ship, RMS Laconia, was sunk by a German U-boat. The U-boat captain Werner Hartenstein immediately ordered the rescue of as many survivors as possible, taking 200 people on board, with another 200 in lifeboats. Although, it is fair to say that not all U-boat commanders were quite so considerate as he was. The U-Boat 7 X 50 binocular was manufactured from 1941 – 1945 specifically for use aboard submarines and was officially designated as the “Doppelfernrohr 7 X 50 für U-Boote ‘U-Bootglas 7X50’”. They were usually made by Zeiss but a smaller number were also manufactured by Emil Busch Rathenow (wartime code “cxn”).
It had three variations. The first was made from 1941-1943, lacked rubber armour and had hinged fold-back Bakelite eyecups. The second was made probably only in 1943 and had rubber armour without fold-back eyecups. The third was made from 1943-1945 and is identical to the second except for having a larger diameter eyelens. The first type is the rarest many being lost during service use.

The build of this binocular is remarkable and unequaled by WWII hand-held binoculars, and some believe never bettered since the war either. It is a fixed focus design for maximum sealing and weatherproofing. The primary user of the binocular could, however, set the focus to his eyesight by removing the rubber armour from the prism plates to access a large focus screw at the base of each eyepiece which could be adjusted using a screwdriver.
During World War II, U-boat warfare was the major component of the Battle of the Atlantic, which lasted the duration of the war. Germany had the largest submarine fleet in World War II, since the Treaty of Versailles had limited the surface navy of Germany to six battleships (of less than 10,000 tons each), six cruisers, and 12 destroyers.

In the early stages of the war the U-boats were extremely effective in destroying Allied shipping; initially in the mid-Atlantic where a large gap in air cover existed until 1942, when the tides changed. The trade in war supplies and food across the Atlantic was extensive, which was critical for Britain's survival. This continuous action became known as the Battle of the Atlantic, as the British developed technical defences such as ASDIC and radar, and the German U-boats responded by hunting in what were called "wolfpacks" where multiple submarines would stay close together, making it easier for them to sink a specific target. Later, when the United States entered the war, the U-boats ranged from the Atlantic coast of the United States and Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, and from the Arctic to the west and southern African coasts and even as far east as Penang. The U.S. military engaged in various tactics against German incursions in the Americas; these included military surveillance of foreign nations in Latin America, particularly in the Caribbean, to deter any local governments from supplying German U-boats.

Because speed and range were severely limited underwater while running on battery power, U-boats were required to spend most of their time surfaced running on diesel engines, diving only when attacked or for rare daytime torpedo strikes. The more ship-like hull design reflects the fact that these were primarily surface vessels that could submerge when necessary. This contrasts with the cylindrical profile of modern nuclear submarines, which are more hydrodynamic underwater (where they spend the majority of their time), but less stable on the surface. While U-boats were faster on the surface than submerged, the opposite is generally true of modern submarines. The most common U-boat attack during the early years of the war was conducted on the surface and at night. This period, before the Allied forces developed truly effective antisubmarine warfare tactics, which included convoys, was referred to by German submariners as "die glückliche Zeit" or "the happy time."

The neck strap has separated, the rubber armour has overall age cracking as usual, the original eye protectors have has replacement post war retaining screws. Plus usual paint loss. Bear in mind they were subjected to some years at sea, over 80 years ago, as combat service surveillance equipment, above and below deck, in some of the most unpleasant weather one can experience, yet still survive till today as fully functioning binoculars as was originally intended eight decades ago. No doubt in some part due to their original owner’s skill or good fortune {the U-Boat commander}, at avoiding being sunk by the indomitable Royal Navy ships or RAF spotter planes.  read more

Code: 25298


A Superb WW1 ‘Trench Made’ Trench Periscope

A Superb WW1 ‘Trench Made’ Trench Periscope

Trench Periscope, manufactured in the trenches, comprising: a rolled metal cylinder with timber inserts to mount 2 mirrors [top round, was oval] and wooden "rolling pin" type handle. Unmarked unofficial pattern circa 1915 -18. They were very popular in the Gallipoli campaign as much as in the trenches of the Western Front. The threat of succumbing to a sniper's bullet was a reality for all who inhabited the trenches of the First World War. Keeping one's head below the line of sight was essential. In order to see out of a trench, loopholes were constructed into the parapets. These might be a simple gap in the sandbags or a steel plate, however with the increased use of armour piercing bullets different solutions needed to be explored.

The trench periscope was a device by which soldiers could fire their rifles from the safety of the trench. All sides developed various types of periscope, the simplest being a stick with two angled pieces of mirror at the top and bottom. By 1915 more advanced types were being manufactured. British born William Beech, veteran of the Second South African War enlisted with the Australian Imperial Force in 1914 and was the inventor of a type of trench periscope. The Beech periscope was a simple design on which the main body of the periscope was attached to the butt of the rifle at a point behind the trigger guard. A cord or wire was then wrapped around the butt in order to secure the rifle to the periscope. Using the mirror at the bottom of the device a view onto the battlefield could be obtained. However, to fire the rifle one would have to lean far forward in order to the reach the trigger. This could potentially alter the aim of the rifle affecting the accuracy of the shot.  read more

Code: 18909

245.00 GBP

A Very Good, Rare, 1910-1918 Historically Significant General's WW1 Austrian Kepi Service Cap

A Very Good, Rare, 1910-1918 Historically Significant General's WW1 Austrian Kepi Service Cap

In superb condition. Photos in the gallery of Archduke Franz Ferdinand wearing his identical general's cap. An Austrian general's cap for a general that was serving at the time that Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated that ultimately was the direct cause of WW1.
It is even feasible he may have been on the Arch Duke's staff when he was killed.
Austro-Hungary was the dominant junior partner of the Central Powers, controlled by Imperial Germany and the Kaiser in WW1. With leather peak and bullion cockade and bullion trim. Maker label marked. It was the assassination of Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand heir to the throne of the Austro Hungarian Empire in Serbia that was the cause for the greatest conflict known to man, The Great War or WW1 as it is known today. Franz Ferdinand (18 December 1863 - 28 June 1914) was an Archduke of Austria-Este, Austro-Hungarian and Royal Prince of Hungary and of Bohemia, and from 1896 until his death, heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne.

His assassination in Sarajevo precipitated Austria-Hungary's declaration of war against Serbia. This thus caused the Central Powers (including Germany and Austria-Hungary) and the Allies of World War I (countries allied with Serbia or Serbia's allies) to declare war upon each other, thus started, World War I.
After the death of Crown Prince Rudolf, Franz Joseph's nephew, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, became heir to the throne. On 28 June 1914, Franz Ferdinand and his morganatic wife, Countess Sophie Chotek, were assassinated on a visit to Sarajevo. When he heard the news of the assassination, Franz Joseph said that
"one has not to defy the Almighty. In this manner a superior power has restored that order which I unfortunately was unable to maintain."

While the emperor was shaken, and interrupted his vacation in order to return to Vienna, he soon resumed his vacation to his imperial villa at Bad Ischl. With the emperor five hours away from the capital, most of the decision-making during the "July Crisis" fell to Count Leopold Berchtold, the Austrian foreign minister, Count Franz Conrad von H?tzendorf, the chief of staff for the Austrian army, and the rest of the ministers. On 21 July, Franz Joseph was apparently surprised by the severity of the ultimatum that was to be sent to the Serbs, and expressed his concerns that Russia would be unwilling to stand idly by, yet he nevertheless chose to not question Berchtold's judgment. A week after the ultimatum, on 28 July, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, and two days later, the Austro-Hungarians and the Russians went to war. Within weeks, the French and British entered the fray. Because of his age, Franz Joseph was unable to take as much as an active part in the war in comparison to past conflicts. On 28 July, the Austro-Hungarians fired the first shots in preparation for the invasion of Serbia.
As Russia mobilised, Germany invaded neutral Belgium and Luxembourg before moving towards France, leading Britain to declare war on Germany. After the German march on Paris was halted, what became known as the Western Front settled into a battle of attrition, with a trench line that would change little until 1917. Meanwhile, on the Eastern Front, the Russian army was successful against the Austro-Hungarians, but was stopped in its invasion of East Prussia by the Germans. In November 1914, the Ottoman Empire joined the war, opening fronts in the Caucasus, Mesopotamia and the Sinai. Italy and Bulgaria went to war in 1915, Romania in 1916, and the United States in 1917.

The war approached a resolution after the Russian government collapsed in March 1917, and a subsequent revolution in November brought the Russians to terms with the Central Powers. On 4 November 1918, the Austro-Hungarian empire agreed to an armistice. After a 1918 German offensive along the western front, the Allies drove back the Germans in a series of successful offensives and began entering the trenches. Germany, which had its own trouble with revolutionaries, agreed to an armistice on 11 November 1918, ending the war in victory for the Allies.
A group photo in the gallery of men wearing similar helmets probably belong to the k.u.k. Husarenregiment Graf von Hadik Nr. 3, which was founded in 1703. The men of this unit came from Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Croatia. This unit was based in Sopron (today in Hungary), where this picture was taken. Another very similar cap is worn by Frederic de Teschen, Arch Duke of Austria, Duc de Teschen.  read more

Code: 22599

875.00 GBP

A WW2 MK 1 British Army Bren Gun, Made After Dunkirk In Order To Restock Britains Armoury Stock After The Disaster of Dunkirk. The Type Used by The Desert Rats in 1942/3 Against Rommel

A WW2 MK 1 British Army Bren Gun, Made After Dunkirk In Order To Restock Britains Armoury Stock After The Disaster of Dunkirk. The Type Used by The Desert Rats in 1942/3 Against Rommel

Made in 1942. Very good condition and good markings. Fully operational action. The most accurate and easy to operate light machine gun made, in fact so accurate, a slight inaccuracy was purposely built into it's design in order that rounds did not pass through the same entry hole. No film ever made about the British and Allies in WW2 fails the show the amazing Bren in action, from the Desert Rats combat against the Afrika Corps under Rommel, to the fateful Dieppe raid, the campaigns in Italy, the Normandy landings, the Parachute regiments action into Arnham, and against the fearsome SS Panzer divisions right across France, Belgium, The Netherlands and into the heart of the 3rd Reich in Germany itself.

The world renown Bren Gun was the most faithful servant of the British Tommy, and one that he regarded as the finest of arms a soldier could be given to fight a most powerful, determined and fanatical foe. It is impossible to calculate the incredible loss of life the British and Allies forces would have suffered without the magnificent services of this amazing gun. At Dunkirk we lost tens of thousands of the pre 1941 manufactured Brens leaving us with only around 2300 to defend Britain. All the captured Brens were re-issued by the Third Reich to the German Wehrmacht such as their falshirmjager, the Afrika Korps and even the French most ardent Nazi volunteers in the Melice, and Vichy. See photos in the gallery. Thus re-armament using our factories around the commonwealth was a priority and vital. A statistic that is not discussed today is that the survival rate of the inmates of the 15 French Nazi Concentration camps was near nil, apart from POW detainees.

Sights were a bladed foresight with an aperture rear sight. System feed was a vertical box magazine of 30 round capacity (usual practice was to only fill to 28 in order to prolong the spring's life); each magazine weighed 17oz (0.48kg) empty and 2lb 12 oz (1.25kg) full.

The Bren was first produced at the RSAF Enfield in 1937.
Each gun weighed 22lb 2oz (10kg), was 45.5 in. (1155 mm) long and had a rate of fire of 500 rounds per minute. It fired the .303 in (7.7 mm) standard British rifle round.

Non EU {ie British} sales Only. Can be re-deactivated to EU/ UK spec, if required but not if not. Deactivated .303 Light Machine Gun.

The Bren was a modified version of a Czechoslovak-designed light machine gun, the ZB vz. 26, which British Army officials had tested during a firearms service competition in the 1930s. They were loved by the troops who used them as they rarely went wrong and withstood all conditions equally well. They were very accurate and because they could fire in semi auto, they were often used to pick off long range targets. It was such an effective design that in modified form, it served in the British armed forces until very recently. They can still be found in Africa and work perfectly well to this day.

Photo in the gallery of the WW2 French Milice, the German falschirmjager, and the Afrika Korps. The Milice participated in summary executions and assassinations, helping to round up Jews and résistants in France for deportation. It was the successor to Darnand's Service d'ordre légionnaire (SOL) militia (founded in 1941). The Milice was the Vichy régime's most extreme manifestation of fascism, and force of around 30,000 strong.

Any deactivated weapons sold by The Lanes Armoury are deactivated in the United Kingdom and hold London or Birmingham proof marks and a certificate stating that the weapon has been deactivated correctly. Can be re-deactivated to EU/ UK spec.  read more

Code: 25288

1495.00 GBP

A Very Good Pair of German WW2 Zeiss Service Binoculars

A Very Good Pair of German WW2 Zeiss Service Binoculars

6 x 30. Alloy frame with original black paint. Leather covered body. Original neck strap. Maker marked Carl Zeiss, Jena. Dienstglas 6 x 30 H/6400. The pattern as used by all the major services SS division personnel, Panzer officer's etc. Each eye piece focuses individually. Porro Prism Grid Scale Designation = H/6400 .The lenses provide a sharp, bright, clear view. A photo of SS-Untersturmf?hrer Franz-Josef Kneipp in the gallery wearing his service binoculars of the same type. Small chip the right eye bakelite cover  read more

Code: 17358

325.00 GBP

'Australian' WW2 Despatch or Para Helmet In Excellent Condition

'Australian' WW2 Despatch or Para Helmet In Excellent Condition

A British deluxe quality pattern but bears an Australian kangaroo symbol, maybe of an Australian that volunteered and fought in the British Armed forces.

A simply superb quality helmet with a fibre skull, quilted leather interior and exterior head and neck support with air deflectors over the ear section, and a single buckled strap

Over 557,000 Australian men and women volunteered to fight overseas in WW2

Picture in the gallery of the Corps of Military Police motorcyclists demonstrate how a metal rod fitted to a motorcycle can prevent the rider from being killed by a wire stretched across the road, 25 October 1944  read more

Code: 25252

695.00 GBP

A Fabulous And Incredibly Rare Museum Piece. An Original WW2 SOE {Special Operations Executive} Secret Espionage Agent's Suitcase Radio Transmitter & Reciever of an Agent of the Secret Army 1942/3 Issue

A Fabulous And Incredibly Rare Museum Piece. An Original WW2 SOE {Special Operations Executive} Secret Espionage Agent's Suitcase Radio Transmitter & Reciever of an Agent of the Secret Army 1942/3 Issue


SOE Special forces
Role; Espionage Irregular warfare (especially sabotage and raiding operations) Special reconnaissance
Nickname "The Baker Street Irregulars" "Churchill's Secret Army" "Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare"

A phenomenally rare, complete mid war WW2 SOE spy radio set, transceiver, with Morse key, earphone headset and various and numerous components, including five crystal units and four frequency ranges, L1B, L2A, L3A and L4A. in it's original case with the early central lock and two catches. {later models changed to just two catches}. Handle detached. Parts with some damage, overall, completely untouched condition since the 1940's. An iconic and most rarest of so-called ‘barn finds’. It may indeed be one of the rarest in the world, and as such an incredible and unique piece of original spy-craft history.
Developer of the transceiver was Captain John Brown (SOE).

The type used by SOE and OSS agent Virginia Hall. Dubbed by the Gestapo as the Limping Lady, as she had a wooden leg! { that she called Cuthbert}.
She had all the makings of a diplomat. Impeccably educated, fluent in multiple languages, and worldly from her years spent abroad from her native Baltimore, Virginia’s dream of a life in the foreign service was shattered when a hunting accident led to the amputation of her left leg. Attitudes toward disabilities were different in the 1930s, and even fitted with a prosthetic leg (which she named “Cuthbert”) Virginia was deemed unfit for the life of a diplomat.

The outbreak of WWII changed that attitude. Virginia, by then living in France, was well-placed to act as a forward agent for the Allies. Volunteering first for the British Special Operations Executive (SOE), Virginia worked agents, ran safehouses, and reported intelligence from Vichy France. Later, she volunteered with the US Office of Strategic Services (OSS), forerunner to the CIA. Her efforts earned her a place on the Gestapo’s “Most Wanted” list as “The Limping Lady”. She and Cuthbert continued to work against the Nazis right up through the Normandy invasion and liberation and earned a Distinguished Service Cross for her efforts – a rare honour for a civilian, and rarer still for a woman.

This is the first we have ever seen, in 80 years since WW2, to be complete, original, and untouched, outside of the Imperial War Museum or the very few dedicated spy and espionage museums. In the world of the most valuable vintage car collecting, this would be an iconic ‘barn find’ of the very rarest kind. In that most exclusive of worlds ‘barn finds’ are now achieving prices equal to fully restored and now mint equivalent motor cars. Millions of pounds can now change hands for an abandoned rarely seen car newly discovered as a total wreck in, say, a barn, garage or field, that has lain untouched, rotting and unloved for many decades.

After France signed an armistice with Germany in June 1940, Great Britain feared the shadow of Nazism would continue to fall over Europe. Dedicated to keeping the French people fighting, Prime Minister Winston Churchill pledged the United Kingdom’s support to the resistance movement. Charged with “set(ting) Europe ablaze,” the Special Operations Executive, or SOE, was born.

Used by the most dedicated and bravest of people, men and women, who have ever served their country. Agents, such as Violette Szabo and Noor Inayat Khan, code name Madeleine, who only too well knew their chances of surviving without capture, torture and execution were slim at best. For them, and many, many others, survival was not to be.

Headquartered at 64 Baker Street in London, the SOE’s official purpose was to put British special agents on the ground to “coordinate, inspire, control and assist the nationals of the oppressed countries.” Minister of Economic Warfare Hugh Dalton borrowed irregular warfare tactics used by the Irish Republican Army two decades before. The “Baker Street Irregulars,” as they came to be known, were trained in sabotage, small arms, radio and telegraph communication and unarmed combat. SOE agents were also required to be fluent in the language of the nation in which they would be inserted so they could fit into the society seamlessly. If their presence aroused undue suspicion, their missions could well be over before they even began.

Portable communication devices were of utmost importance as radio and telegraph communication ensured the French resistance (and SOE agents) were not cut off from the outside world. Radio operators had to stay mobile, often carrying their radio equipment on their backs as they moved from safe house to safe house. Their survival depended on their ability to transmit messages rapidly and move quickly.
Along with irregular tactics and unusual materiel, the British government knew an irregular war required irregular warriors. Women proved to be invaluable as couriers, spies, saboteurs and radio operators in the field. Though female agents received the same training as the men, some balked at the idea of sending women behind enemy lines. They grudgingly agreed female spies would have distinct advantages over the men on the ground. Women could travel freely because they were not expected to work during the day. Gender stereotypes also helped keep the women above suspicion. After all, who could possibly imagine a woman could be a viable combatant in war?
Women were more than viable, however: they were critical to SOE mission success. Though they would later be honored for their “conspicuous courage,” the female spies of the SOE were successful because they learned to be inconspicuous. They took on secret identities, went on secret missions and were trusted with their nation’s greatest secrets. Thirty-nine of the 470 SOE agents in France were women, with an additional sixteen deployed to other areas.
The Gestapo gave Nancy Grace August Wake the nickname “the white mouse” because of her uncanny ability to evade capture. When she learned one of the resistance groups no longer had a radio for communication, she rode almost 300 kilometers on a bicycle to make radio contact with the SOE headquarters and arrange for an equipment drop. Despite many close calls, Wake survived the war. First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (FANY) member Odette Hallowes also cheated death. Embedded with the resistance in Cannes, Hallowes was captured and sent to the Ravensbrück concentration camp. She survived two years in prison, often in solitary confinement, before the camp was liberated by the Allied forces.
Other women were not so fortunate. Noor Inayat Khan, code name Madeleine, was a radio operator in France. After her entire team was ambushed and arrested, she was betrayed to the Gestapo by a French national hoping for a large reward. Khan did not break during interrogation and attempted escape from her captors several times. Sent to Dachau in September 1944, she was executed upon arrival. Violette Szabo, an agent inserted into Limoges, faced a similar fate at Ravensbrück. She was 23 years old.
By Kate Murphy Schaefer {abridged}. Kate Murphy Schaefer holds a MA in History with a Military History concentration for Southern New Hampshire University. She is also the author of a woman’s history blog, www.fragilelikeabomb.com.

Type 3 Mk. II B2
Clandestine suitcase transceiver · 1942
Type 3 Mark II, commonly referred to as B2, is a British WWII portable clandestine transceiver, also known as a spy radio set, developed in 1942 by (then) Captain John Brown at SOE Station IX, and manufactured by the Radio Communication Department of the SOE at Stonebridge Park. The set was issued to agents, resistance groups and special forces, operating on occupied territory. The official designator is Type 3 Mk. II but the radio is also known as Type B Mk. II, B.II and B2.

The B2 came in two versions. The initial version came in an unobtrusive leather suitcase that allowed an agent to travel inconspicuously. This is the most well-known variant. Later in the war it was dropped by parachute in two water-tight containers, that were more suitable for use by resistance groups operating in the field.

The images show the Type 3 Mk.II in its original brown simulated leather suitcase, which can easily be recognized as it has three locks at the front: two simple locks at the sides, and one that can be locked with a key at the centre.
Operating the Type 3 Mark II (B2)

The radio set consists of three units: a receiver (RX), a transmitter (TX) and a Power Supply Unit (PSU), plus a box with spares and accessories. When mounted in the suitcase, the transmitter is located at the center top, with the receiver mounted below it. The PSU is at the right in such a position that the two other units can be connected to it. The spares box is generally positioned at the left, with the Morse key mounted on its lid. When operating the B2, the lid of the spares box should be placed on the table, so that the Morse key can be operated.

The Type 3 Mk.II (B2) was relatively small for its day and produced an HF output power of 20 Watts. Nevertheless, it was too big to carry around unobtrusively especially when travelling by public transport. For this reason, later radios, such as the Model A Mk. III (A3) were made much smaller, albeit with a limited frequency range (3.2-9.55 MHz) and reduced power output (5 Watt).
The most well-known appearance of the B2 is the suitcase version, but hardly any surviving B2 is found in its original red leather suitcase. In fact, the B2 was delivered in a variety of different suitcases, ranging from sturdy leather cases to simple cardboard and even wooden variants.

The original leather case is easily recognised, as it has three locks rather than the usual two. In many cases, the original case was swapped for a more common two-lock version, as it was easily recognised by the enemy. Later in the war, cheaper cardboard suitcases were used instead.

Louis Meulstee's excellent book Wireless for the Warrior, volume 4 even shows an example of a wooden carpenter's toolbox in which a B2 is fitted. The dimensions of the suitcase are pretty standard for the era. This B2 in it's original issue simulated leather cardboard covered wood frame suitcase with 3 locks. The cases were changed later in the war for twin catched cases, as three, one lock and two catches, became too identifiable by the Gestapo.

A photograph in the gallery was taken during WWII, probably in 1942 or 1943, and shows this B2 radio's production line at the Bontex Knitting Mills, which became SOE Station VIIa (7a) . This facility is also known as Stonebridge Park,

While Virgina Hall {see her photo in the gallery} was adept in all aspects of tradecraft, one of the most powerful tools at her disposal was the suitcase radio, a catch-all term used to describe any transceiver small enough to be transported into the field and operated covertly. A suitcase was often used to house the radio as it would be less likely to arouse suspicion if the spy’s lair was discovered. The B2 suitcase radio was also a great form factor for a portable transceiver – just the right size for the miniaturized radios of the day, good operational ergonomics, and perfect for quick setup and teardown. You can even imagine a spy minimally obfuscating the suitcase’s real purpose with a thin layer of folded clothing packed over the radio.

Great care was given to ensure that the field agent would have every chance of using the radio successfully and that it would operate as long as possible under adverse conditions. With a power budget often limited to five watts or so, these radios were strictly QRP affairs. Almost every suitcase rig operated on the high-frequency bands between 3 MHz and 30 MHz, to take advantage of ionospheric skip and other forms of propagation. An antenna optimized for these bands would likely be a calling card to the enemy, especially in an urban setting, so controls were provided to tune almost any length of wire into a decent antenna.

Footnote; it is estimated around 7,000 of this form of clandestine spy-craft equipment were made by the British. It’s historical WW2 Nazi equivalent, the German made Enigma Machine, over 100,000 of those were manufactured, almost 15 times as many. Yet, surviving examples of the Enigma Machine can now achieve between $250,000 to $800,000. Thus, it is entirely possible that these suitcase transceivers can one day approach these figures, if not even likely. In fact in almost all respects they should be on a value parity already, as the operators of the Enigmas were based in relatively comfortable German bases, ships or field commands. Safe and relatively well protected and far away from fear and terror. The operators of these transceivers, men and women, many barely out of their teenage years, were, every single minute of every single day at appalling risk of capture and the inevitable, unspeakable torture {especially the women}, at the hands of the Gestapo, and summary execution, after being transferred to a concentration camp, sometimes simply within a few weeks of the start of their clandestine service in Nazi occupied Europe.

A dear friend of the partners {Mark and David's} late mother, Camilla Hawkins, was Anita Vulliamy, daughter in law of Major-General C.H.H. Vulliamy. She was a simply a remarkable lady, who, during the war, was captured by the Gestapo, horrifyingly tortured, but managed to survive captivity. During her months in the Gestapo prison she crocheted a holy cross, made of prison cell straw bedding. After the war, her cross was exhibited alongside a similar piece, a straw doll, made by British SOE heroine Odette Churchill at a Charity event in London in 1956 and they raised £875 for the Polio Fund in one week. A huge sum in those days. Camilla mentioned that her friend, Anita, almost always wore fine leather gloves in company, as her finger nails had been torn out by her Gestapo interrogators. They grew back in part, but not well enough for Anita to feel comfortable to show her hands in public. Anita and Odette survived, and both considered themselves to be the extraordinarily lucky ones.  read more

Code: 25249


An Original WW2 SOE Issue, Special Operations Executive, Sabotage Clam Mine From Section XV. Designed by Charles Fraser Smith, The Inspiration For James Bond's 'Q'

An Original WW2 SOE Issue, Special Operations Executive, Sabotage Clam Mine From Section XV. Designed by Charles Fraser Smith, The Inspiration For James Bond's 'Q'

With its original wooden 'dummy' time pencil as issued before use.
During the Second World War Britain’s Special Operations Executive (SOE) developed a whole series of sabotage devices for use behind enemy lines.

The SOE was created in 1940 on the orders of Winston Churchill. The organization was so secret that not even Parliament was aware of its existence. Among its successes were the destruction of the Nazi nuclear program and the capture of Nazis.

Charles Fraser Smith was the man who organized Section XV of the SOE, and who developed the secret tools used by their agents. He is often mentioned as being the inspiration for the character Q from the James Bond novels and movies. Other creations of Section XV included the cat bomb, bat bomb, and limpet mine

The MKIII Clam is a small time-device with a magnetic base which enables it to be attached instantly to any flat iron or steel surface. It consists in the main of a Bakelite shell in the form of an oblong box with rounded corners. The base of this box has a detachable lid to a compartment intended to hold the explosive, in this case completely empty and inert, whilst at each end are powerful magnets.
It was also designed as pocket sized so if an SOE agent was in civilian dress it could be easily concealed and be withdrawn at just a second's notice and attached to, say, a German staff car, an ammunition truck or the boiler of a train

The Clam is a small time-device with a magnetic base which enables it to be attached instantly to any flat iron or steel surface.

It consists in the main of a bakelite or metal shell in the form of an oblong box with rounded corners.
The base of this box has a detachable lid, whilst at each end is a powerful magnet.

In the top of the box is a recess or tube to take a standard "L" Delay time pen.
The units are so designed that they can be paired, the magnet faces being put together.

Each Clam was supplied and equipped with a lid held in position by 4 countersunk screws and with a wooden dummy to take the place of an "L" Delay time pencil with a detonator.
The standard "L" Delays used are issued in cartons of 10, and in timings of: 1-hour, 6-hours, 12-hours, 24-hours, 3-days, 7-days, 14-days and 28-days.

Delay ("No. 9 delay switch")
Another, subsequent type was developed by Millis Jefferis of MD1 known as the "Lead Delay switch" or officially "Switch, No. 9, L Delay". Instead of relying on the chemical action of a corrosive liquid on metal (which was subject to temperature variation), it used a piece of metal under stress – the metal in question being a lead alloy that was extremely affected by mechanical creep. A piece of this lead was notched to a set diameter, the diameter setting the time delay. When the starting pin was removed, this wire was placed under tension by the spring-loaded striker, and began to gradually stretch. After a certain time, it would snap at the notch and allow the striker to hit the percussion cap.

The delay could be set from a matter of minutes to hours. Manufacture was entirely by MD1. Generally speaking L-delays were slightly less reliable and had shorter delays, but were more reliable underwater (if a No. 10 fuze developed a leak, water would dilute the corrosive liquid and increase the delay or stop the fuze from working).

One type, the British Number Ten Delay Switch (official name, "Switch, No. 10, Delay" and often referred to as a "timing pencil"), was made of a brass (or in later versions aluminium) tube, with a copper section at one end which contained a glass vial of cupric chloride (the liquid was widely and erroneously reported to be sulfuric acid, while beneath the vial was a spring-loaded striker under tension and held in place by a thin metal wire. The timer was started by crushing the copper section of the tube to break the vial of cupric chloride, which then began to slowly erode the wire holding back the striker. When the wire eventually parted, the striker was propelled down the hollow centre of the detonator, hitting the percussion cap at the other end of the detonator.

Number ten delay switches had delays ranging from 10 minutes to 24 hours and were accurate to within plus or minus two or three minutes in an hour's delay, and plus or minus an hour in a 12-hour delay, though environmental conditions could affect this. The switches were typically issued in packs of five, all the switches in a pack having the same delay.

The briefcase bomb used in the July 20 plot to assasinate Hitler, used a captured British pencil detonator inserted into a block of British plastic explosives weighing approximately two pounds. The bomb was set to 30 minutes and detonated as planned, but Hitler survived with minor injuries. Stauffenberg could not prepare the second block, though. He got rid of it while driving through the forest to the airfield. His driver, Leutnant Erich Kretz, reported seeing Werner von Haeften throw something into the woods in his mirror.

Empty, inert, and safe.  read more

Code: 25250