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War Games (Read 3150 times)
02/18/13 at 15:41:38

Big Guy   Offline
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http://www.snopes.com/military/monopoly.asp

Very Interesting piece of History

In the Second World War, an increasing number of shot-down British
airmen found themselves as the involuntary guests of the Third Reich,
and the Military bosses were looking hard at ways and means to
facilitate their escape.
Now obviously, one of the most helpful aids is a map, showing the
locations of 'safe houses' where a POW on-the-lam could go for food
and shelter.
Paper maps had some real drawbacks -- they make a lot of noise when
you open and fold them, they wear out rapidly, and if they get wet,
they turn into mush.

Someone in MI-5 got the idea of printing escape maps on silk. It's
durable, can be scrunched-up into tiny wads, and unfolded as many
times as needed, and makes no noise whatsoever.

At that time, there was only one manufacturer in Great Britain that
had perfected the technology of printing on silk, and that was John
Waddington Ltd. When approached by the government, the firm was only
too happy to do its bit for the war effort.

By pure coincidence, Waddington was also the U.K. Licensee for the
popular board game, Monopoly. As it happened, 'games and pastimes' was
a category of item qualified for insertion into 'CARE packages',
dispatched by the International Red Cross to prisoners of war.

Under the strictest of secrecy, in a securely guarded and inaccessible
old workshop on the grounds of Waddington's, a group of
sworn-to-secrecy employees began mass-producing escape maps, keyed to
each region of Germany or Italy where Allied POW camps were. When
processed, these maps could be folded into such tiny dots that they
would actually fit inside a Monopoly playing piece. While they were at
it, the clever workmen at Waddington's also managed to add:
1. A playing token, containing a small magnetic compass.
2. A two-part metal file that could easily be screwed together.
3. Useful amounts of genuine high-denomination German, Italian, and
French currency, hidden within the piles of Monopoly money!

British, Canadian and American air crews were advised, before taking
off on their first mission, how to identify a 'rigged' Monopoly set --
by means of a tiny red dot, cleverly rigged to look like an ordinary
printing glitch, located in the corner of the Free Parking square.

Of the estimated 35,000 Allied POWS who successfully escaped,
one-third were aided in their flight by the rigged Monopoly sets.
Everyone who did so was sworn to secrecy indefinitely, since the
British Government might want to use this highly successful ruse in
still another, future war.

The story wasn't de-classified until 2007, when the surviving
craftsmen from Waddington's, as well as the firm itself, were finally
honoured in a public ceremony.
(It's always nice when you can play that 'Get Out of Jail Free' card! )

I realize some of you are probably too young to have any personal
connection to WWII (Sep 1939 to Aug. 1945), but this is still interesting,
isn't it?
 
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Reply #1 - 02/18/13 at 17:08:09

sahara   Offline
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Livingston, Texas

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That was very informative and insightful.  It was one of those little known things that doesn't get much publicity.  Thanks for the article Guy.
 

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WE DID IT!! We finished all 50 states on a motorcycle.
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