Operation Columba – The Secret Pigeon Service: The Untold Store of World War II Resistance in Europe by Gordon Corera is a non-fiction account of the British “Pigeon Warfare” effort. Mr. Corera is a journalist and writer, he specializes on security issues for the BBC.
- 352 pages
- Publisher: William Morrow
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780062667076
My rating for Operation Columba – The Secret Pigeon Service – 5
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I always thought the use of pigeons is a creative one, but really have no special interest in it because, well… it’s pigeons. Operation Columba – The Secret Pigeon Service: The Untold Store of World War II Resistance in Europe by Gordon Corera, however, is a well written book which brings to life this small part of the war.
On the face of it, using pigeons to fly messages from German held territories to England sounds ridiculous. How could such an operation be successful with so many variables which cannot be accounted for?
The author answers this question, and many more, in the book. The pigeon business, as it turned out, was popular at the time (racing, etc.) so there were many experts that the British intelligence was able to draw upon. The birds were dropped behind enemy lines, parachuted in cages, to hopefully be found by local resistance who will risk their lives writing information in supplied kit and send the bird back.
Did you catch that?
If the Nazis found the birds they could either kill them, keep them, or send them back with false information. If the caught a citizen with one of these birds, a very unpleasant experience awaited them, if not death.
I never thought I’d enjoy a book about pigeons, but here we are. A thrilling book about an oddball corner of history, including brave citizens resisting to the Nazis occupiers, and creative intelligence officers.
Zohar — Man of la Book
Disclaimer: I got this book for free.
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