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Plan Huguenot memorandum dated 18 January 1945.
Copy No. 6
(This name has not been officially agreed for the plan. We are using it merely for convenience at present.)
To undermine the fighting efficiency of the German Air Force
a) by suggesting to the German Air Force authorities that German flying personnel are deserting in their machines to the Allied side under an Allied reception scheme for German Air Force deserters;
b) by causing the German authorities, on the basis of this information, to take action against their flying personnel which would undermine their flying morale;
c) by encouraging German pilots to desert in their machines to behind the Allied lines.
1. Through D-noticed official radio channels and through official leaflets dropped in leaflet bombs over German airfields it will be stated that:
a) A number of German pilots, who have recently deserted, declared that many of their comrades had wanted to come over to the Allies and surrender, but had been afraid to do so because of the efficiency of the Allied defences.
b) The Allies, therefore, give German pilots wishing to come over the following advice. They should approach the Allied lines alone. If they are in formation, the deserting machine must break away so that it is all by itself. Then it must give the following signals of surrender: By day – lower undercarriage, waggle wings and jettison the canopy (die Haube or die Notaussteigeklappe or das Kabinendach). At night – fire emergency signals, show navigation lights, lower undercarriage, waggle wings and jettison the canopy.
Any pilots who finds that his signals have not been recognised (through bad visibility or for other reasons) should simply bale out.
c) The fact that a man has deserted will be kept strictly secret by the Allies unless the pilot himself wishes it to be made public.
2. Covert and disavowable channels, and possibly deception channels, will be used to convey to the enemy authorities the impression that a number of pilots whom they had believed dead or prisoners were in fact deserters, but no names of either real or pseudo-deserters will be given in this operation. Covert radio will further help this suggestion by pointing out to German pilots that it is impossible for the German authorities to know whether a pilot is missing because he has been killed or because he has deserted.
It will further suggest that the Allied authorities are helping deserters by reporting as prisoners those who have come over to the Allies during an operation over Allied territory, while those who deserted to Allied territory when they had no mission which took them over Allied territory would not be reported at all, so that the German authorities would only know that they are missing.
3. Apart from the routine inducements to desert held out to German services personnel, covert radio and rumours could also suggest:
a) that deserting German pilots would find employment on civilian air lines under Allied control after the war, or would be given jobs in the administration of Germany;
b) that they would be given an opportunity to rebuild a better and brighter Germany.
The dividend from this operation should not be looked for so much in the actual number of desertions as in the effect of the counter-measures which the German authorities would be induced to take against their flying personnel if they were deceived into believing that an increasing number of them were deserting under the scheme.
The system devised for the reception of deserting aircraft has therefore as its main object the stimulation in the German authorities of the belief that the scheme offers an effective bait for German pilots.
Measures likely to be taken by the German authorities to prevent desertion are:
1) The sharpening-up of anti-desertion security measures generally and the issue of instructions to commanding officers, NSFO’s and field police to keep a suspicious eye on everyone – a course of action which must have serious effects on morale.
2) The transfer to ground duties or to home units of suspect personnel.
3) The promotion of officers on account of political reliability rather than efficiency.
4) A more careful selection of personnel sent on reconnaissance flights and other lone, non-formation flights.
5) The cutting-down of petrol allowance to below the safety margin so as to avoid the possibility of excursions.
1. The Allied authorities will be unwilling to give any instructions to their own personnel to implement the surrender signals suggested to the Germans by ceasing fire.
Answer: This will not militate against the success of the scheme as the objective of the operation is not so much the capture of live Germans with their planes as to induce the German authorities to take measures against their own men in the belief that the Allies:
a) have put up a proposition which makes desertion attractive to German Air Force personnel
b) has caused German Air Force personnel to desert.
It is therefore not essential to the success of the scheme that the Allied authorities should instruct their own personnel to cease fire if they observe a German making surrender signals. If a German pilot is shot down after signalling surrender, no harm is done. If a German pilot is fired on after making surrender signals and gets home, it is improbable that he will tell the tale.
2. Our own personnel will be confused by the issue of these instructions to the Germans if these are reported in the press and the B.B.C. Home Service.
Answer: To meet this objection, it is proposed that the instructions to the Germans should only be issued on D-noticed radio programmes, which are not reported by the B.B.C. Home Service or by the press. The leaflets will not be released to the press and therefore will have no home publicity.
3. The revelation on covert channels which, though officially disavowable, are known to the enemy authorities to be of Allied origin, that we are prepared to exercise discretion as to whom we report as having been taken prisoner and whom we don’t report at all, might cause the Germans to ignore the Geneva Convention and keep back the names of prisoners whom they have taken.
Answer: If the Germans feel they can ignore the Geneva Convention with impunity, they will do so anyhow. If they don’t, they won’t.
Secondly, the men whom we fail to report are not prisoners but deserters and do not come under the Geneva Convention.
Thirdly, covert channels can always be disavowed.
18th January, 1945.
Source: British National Archives, ref. FO 898/399