Red Orchestra

In the spring of 1941, as the start-date for his invasion of the USSR approached, Hitler became suspicious there was a Soviet espionage network operating close to the center of his regime. He ordered a special group be formed to centrally manage the hunt for Soviet spies, to be called the Rote Kapelle Kommando (Red Orchestra Command, from the common jargon of the Nazis’ counter-intelligence services, in which resistance radio operators were referred to as “pianists,” their transmitters as “pianos” and their supervisors as “conductors.”)

That group was formed under Reinhard Heydrich of the SS security service; Heinrich Mueller, head of the Gestapo; Walter Schellenberg, also from of the SS; and Adm. Wilhelm Canaris of the Abwehr (military intelligence branch). After Heydrich’s assassination in June 1942, overall SS chief Heinrich Himmler took over direct command.

Author Bio:


The editor of World at War magazine and Senior Editor for Strategy & Tactics Press. He has more than 30 years professional experience in historical research, writing and editing. From 1976 to 1980, and again from 1984 to 1988, he served in US military intelligence. He has written over 100 published articles and reports on military history and over 100 published wargames, most on World War II topics.

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