Operation Bletchley

Operation Bletchley: Day 16 Sitrep

Halfway through. It has been cold and wet, but we have finally had a couple of nice days where walking hasn’t felt like a chore.

The Fundraising

Operation Bletchley is raising money for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, the National Charity of the British Army and you can make a real difference. Established amongst the planning for D-Day in 1944, the charity was created to ensure that every soldier, veteran and family member in need receives the help they require.

You can contribute by sponsoring me:

Stories below are all courtesy of Operation Bletchley and ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, not my own work.

Berlin : 40 Miles

20 miles – Escaping The East

Today’s rendezvous was at the bombed-out Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in Brandenburg, just a quick two-mile walk from the British HQ.

My contact was the former German military pastor who returned with the prisoner of war. He explained that he’s been helping refugees escape from the Soviet zone. He then handed over some documents and a stack of Soviet propaganda encouraging Berliners in the West to move East. Thankfully, the leaflets hadn’t proved very effective, but it’s a valuable insight into the way the Soviets think.

After searching through the pastor’s documents, I discovered another coded message. I need to cover the two miles back to HQ before deciphering. 

24 Miles Double Agent

The pastor’s information sent me to the Rykestrasse Synagogue to meet my next contact. Used by the German armed forces since its theft by the Nazis, the synagogue is now back in the care of a very small Jewish community that survived the war.

It’s in the Soviet zone, so you donned civilian clothes and hid within a small military convoy to slip beyond the blockade. After infiltrating the Pankow district, I rolled out the back of the truck and covered the last two miles to the rendezvous on foot.

There were a handful of worshippers in attendance for the Shabbat service. Amongst them was my contact: a young woman in the uniform of a junior Red Army officer. As it transpired, she was actually a Polish agent fluent in Russian – she was only using the uniform to gather information from the Soviets. Her father was murdered at Katyn and she lost a brother who fought for the Polish home army in Warsaw, so it’s safe to say she has no love for the Soviets.

She handed over a micro-film revealing important documents about the Soviets – it appears they’ve been sabotaging fuel supplies to the West. She also gave me a coded message from a refugee family in the East. I need to get these back to HQ – better dash to cover the two miles back. 

Day 1313th January 20221.64 + 0.74 miles walked
Day 1414th January 20221.96 miles walked
Day 1515th January 20222.16 miles walked
Day 1616th January 20221.22 miles walked

26.48 miles walked 13.52 miles to go

CodeJuniorCodebreakerCypher Expert
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The Balkans : 80 Miles

48 miles – Wet to the Bone

I left the forester’s hut behind and ventured out into the snow once more. The storm was subsiding, leaving me exposed to Chetniks and Bosnians in the region. Tensions were high after recent clashes, and I knew they wouldn’t hesitate to shoot if they suspected me for a spy. Olga had suggested a long, circuitous route to Vitoroga to help me avoid detection. But as the skies cleared, I had a clear view of armed soldiers making their rounds in the distance. So I had to dive into the deep snow a few times to avoid their sight lines.

By the time I reached Vitoroga, my clothes were soaked through, my fingers numb to the bone. Luckily, I was met by Colonel William Deakin who led me into the warm, where I quickly changed into dry clothes. He also sent one of his couriers to fetch me a much-needed cup of tea.

Colonel Deakin had fresh intel about a railway bridge that was destroyed near Velisca. The Nazis are moving in to protect their road and rail lines. But they’re spread thin with allies advancing on separate fronts through Italy and the Soviet Union. This would be valuable to my colleagues at Bletchley Park, so you called it in straight away.

As I finished off the last of my tea, Colonel Deakin briefed me on a reconnaissance mission in Todorići. I need to check if the partisans are capable of stopping Nazi road movements. Just before you set off, he also gave me a coded message to solve.

56 Miles – Under Fire

Iset off towards Todorići to assess the strength of partisan forces in the area. The road through Todorići is part of a vital route to Šipovo, so it’s essential that our friends can stop the Nazis in their tracks. Accompanied by half a dozen partisans on a supply mission, I took the opportunity to learn a little more about their dynamic leader, Tito. But just when things were starting to get interesting, my group came under fire in a small hamlet west of Vagan. Bullets ricocheted off the gravel, sending partisan fighters diving for cover left and right.

I set off down the flank, using the wall as cover, and continued on with my mission while the partisans took care of the stragglers. I was met in Todorići by the partisan leader. He’s confident of holding retreating forces for two or three days. But with more fighters and explosives, he could wreak havoc and stop a far larger enemy force.

I called in reinforcements and supplies on a British radio left by an SOE agent. My contact directed me to Šemenovci, where there are reports of a Soviet mission near the partisan base. I decided to spend the night in Todorići, so I helped the partisans build improvised anti-tank mines before getting my head down. Just as I was setting off the next morning, the partisan leader gave you another code to crack.

Day 1313th January 20223.97 miles walked
Day 1414th January 20223.69 miles walked
Day 1515th January 20223.54 miles walked
Day 1616th January 20222.58 miles walked

59.57 miles walked 20.43 miles to go

CodeJuniorCodebreakerCypher Expert
1SolvedSolvedBaffled so far
2SolvedSolvedNeed a lightbulb moment!
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Over half way through the walking now, it has been lovely to see some signs of spring. I’ve had some feline assistance (hindrance?) with code breaking, though I think Mum was more useful!

Operation Bletchley: Day 31 Mission Accomplished

In the end I walked over 110 miles in January, including a couple of walks over three miles. I have seen starling murmurations, and wandered around both Criccieth and Porthmadog. I have caught plenty of Pokemon, and seen signs of spring. The Fundraising You can sponsor me until the end of February 2022. If […]

Operation Bletchley: Day 28 Sitrep

I carried on walking, after all I still have Pokemon to catch, and Stepbet and Waybetter challenges to make. It has been a busy week – a new job, assignments due for Strathclyde and two Pharos courses… I did fit in a bit of codebreaking, and the weekend diary is cleared to finish the mission. […]

Operation Bletchley: Day 24 Sitrep

New job day! Very exciting, and not much walking or codebreaking! But I had a codebreaking session yesterday, with lots of help from Mum, and we cracked quite a lot. A walk late afternoon a few days ago to see the starling murmurations helped a lot with getting to the walking targets. The Fundraising Operation […]

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