Interrogation reports reveal tactical information

Interrogation reports reveal tactical information

Interrogation. It is a word in the English language has sinister undertones but in times of war and national survival it is a vital activity. Interrogation of the prisoners at Trent Park was crucial, after all Detailed Interrogation Centre was in the title of the operation running Trent Park and its sister sites (collectively called Combined Services Detailed Interrogation Centre, CSDIC UK).

The National Archives reveal reports that were recorded verbatim such as Halder’s conclusions on why Germany lost the War and that Hitler was exasperating to work with, citing his excessive micromanaging and unrealistic strategic management style. General Dornberger’s file reveals detail secrets of Nazi Germany’s ‘vengeance weapons’ programme (V-weapons).

However, some reports appear to be a summary with key points obtained from different individuals, one such report deals with the proposed invasion of Great Britain. The information was obtained from General Bernard von Lossberg and General Gunther Blumentritt. Apart from comprehensive strategic and tactical army planning, the report for example tells us the 6th, 9th and 16th armies would form an initial invasion group under command of von Rundstedt, it also contains a secret insight into Hitler’s attitude during the early summer of 1940.

Whilst at a top secret meeting at Charleroi, France, Hitler in a rare moment of reflective insight stated concerning the British Empire that it was an ‘edifice for good in the world and that its existence was as important as that of the Roman Catholic Church’.

Both generals concluded privately that Hitler hoped that Britain would come to terms with Nazi Germany to avoid an invasion.  It seemed Hitler was never enthusiastic about his armies planned ‘Operation Sealion’ (it anticipated very high losses), and perhaps he saw the British Empire and the Catholic church as useful allies in the ideological battle against Bolshevism and the Soviet Union. Lossberg would later play a key role in planning the invasion of Russia. Blumentritt was captured by the British in 1945 but later gained fame by being portrayed by Curt Jurgens in the 1962 film, The Longest Day.

Intelligence gathering can involve direct interrogation and prove useful as was the case at Trent Park but arguably what made Trent Park unique that it was carefully blended with the secret listening project giving the allies unprecedented intelligence and valuable information.