Friday, August 22, 2008

A Care Package That Really Cares

During WWII, a little known place called Fort Hunt was heavily involved in the effort to help American POW's escape from the Germans. Much of this effort was done via "care" packages.

The baseballs, pipes and cribbage boards inside the packages had been crafted at
Fort Hunt. They contained hidden compartments.
"Put into these special
packages under these fake foundations were compasses, saws, escape maps, other
items such as pairs of wire cutters," LaClair says."
Several POW's managed to successfully escape with the assistance of these care packages. And there was some serious assistance included.

The cribbage board — as you moved the pieces you could listen to the channels of
the BBC. The deck of playing cards, if you steamed the pieces apart, in between
each card would be a little piece of a silk escape map," says Bies.
Somehow, the Germans never caught on to just how big an operation this was. It wasn't a one-way effort either, because a code was developed for passing intelligence *both ways* via letters "to home".

"I remember growing up in the 1960s, my father loved [the TV show] Hogan's
Heroes," says Peter Bedini, whose father Silvio served at Fort Hunt. "Especially
when they were hiding radios in coffee pots and things like that. He used to
say, 'You know, that's not too far off from what really happened.'"

Hogan's Heroes as documentary. Heh.


Anonymous said...

I don't know why more people don't appreciate Hogan's Heroes.

Really cool article. And I'm glad you are back.

Victor said...

The Brits modified Monopoly sets, along the same lines, as well. Mental Floss magazine had an article about it last year...and it's online, too.