RAF and the SOE, Special Duty Operations in Europe during World War 2

About the SOE

The Special Operations Executive (SOE) was a covert military organization which set up a network of agents across Europe during the Second World War. The SOE dropped and picked up agents. Also it supplied resistance movements with weapons and other essential equipement enabling resistance fighters to sabotage railroads and and other installations. The Special Duties squadrons of the RAF played a major role in delivering aircraft and airmen for this role.

The book

The book is divided in several parts, each part contains a period and the strategy followed. Each chapter deals with a different subject, like the aircraft involved, the way equipent was delivered, the reception committees and how landings took place.

For this reason the book gives a good overall view of the SOE and the RAF and the cooperation between both organizations. The book gives good understanding in the details of the operations. I found the chapter about packaging the equipment very interesting because it was one of the many issues dealth with in an ingenious way. This book will offer you some great insights in the covert operations in Europe.

Since the dangerous nature of the SOE’s work I expected some personal accounts, which should have been interesting but the book remains rather factual. Flying in moonlight to enemy occupied country, landing and dropping off agents, it’s all in the book and these passages are very interesting to read. After a while reading about a strategy and another strategy, it felt just a bit overwhelming.

The book contains many interesting facts and if you are interested in covert operations and spies, this is a good book. It you look for spy stories in particular, you’ll find some but that is not what this book is about.

The Verdict

Content: 4 stars
Layout: 4 stars
Interest: 3 stars
Overall: 3,5 stars

Publisher info:

  • Hardcover: 309 pages
  • Publisher: Frontline books
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1473894131
  • ISBN-13: 978-1473894136

Book availability: