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Thread: Pru

  1. #1
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    Is anybody aware of specific instances of PRU flights being scheduled (or requested) to provide a cover-story for information obtained from ULTRA or other SIGINT? I know this happened, and it is even possible that aircrew were lost on these missions.

    Bruce
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    RESEARCH AT THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES & OTHER UK INSTITUTIONS

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    Hi Bruce,

    Dr R V Jones describes in his book 'Most Secret War' about timing PRU missions to catch V weapons on the launch pads while undergoing baltic trials.

    The Y service was tracking telemetry messages and had formed a fairly good idea of when the next test launch would be carried out. Jones asked the PRU unit to try to pass over the site between a particular time and day.

    Not exactly Ultra but use of SIGINT and a hunch to provide the best chance of a photo.

    Page 367 (FZG 76) Sortie 28th Nov 1943 by John Merifield, Zemplin buildings identical to Ski sites in Low Countries. On one of the catapults a flying bomb in position. Plate 21 (C).

    Regards
    Ross
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    I just finished the book "The End of the Beginning" by Clayton and Craig, and while I don't recall the specifics, it certainly reference recce flights being used to cover decryptions by some Allied intelligence agency - don't recall whether ULTRA or not.
    Interests include Spitfires in Malta 1942 and 460 Sqdn 1943-44 (including Black Thursday)

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    Thanks for those suggestions. They are very apt because I must confess that it was the comments from RV Jones that got me wondering about specific examples, and the Clayton /Craig work rekindled my interest.
    I am pretty sure I have found a couple of cases in October 1942. In these flights there were several targets along the coast of occupied France, so I cannot prove that the sole purpose of the flight was to provide cover for the British knowledge of some important German ship movements, but it is possible. Certainly the timing indicates this.
    Looking at the use of ULTRA in the Med, I suspect PRU was used frequently there to provide a ‘reasonable’ explanation for Allied interceptions of convoys, but I haven’t yet nailed down a firm candidate.

    Regards,
    Bruce
    http://www.filephotoservice.co.uk/
    RESEARCH AT THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES & OTHER UK INSTITUTIONS

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    I have seen a reference - but can't say where - to PR being used out of Malta to justify intelligence obtained by other means. I suspect it is in one of the books dealing with convoy movements: either Gibbs, Nesbitt, Scott or one of the works on Warburton.

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