Nº. 1 of  1

The Oddment Emporium

A Cornucopia of Eclectic Delights

Posts tagged Spy:

The Spitfire is a much loved plane, even today. Built in the late 1930s, it has the look of a classic airplane, with an oblong, slightly rounded body, wings that look like a huge oval strapped to the plane, and a ‘blister’ of glass over the cockpit. World War II marked a time of great innovation, which was sometimes practical and sometimes loony. Those two kinds of innovation came together when great military minds decided that to keep an airplane from being spotted, they needed to paint it pink.
The pink, slightly too washed-out to be an actual baby pink, still seems bright enough to signal every enemy within five miles. This is certainly true when the Spitfires were seen from above. They stand out brightly against the ground. To make sure they were rarely seen from above, these planes were painted to fly just under cloud cover. Although the planes were ideally meant to fly at sunset and sunrise, when the clouds took on a pinkish hue and made the plane completely invisible against them, they were also useful during the day. Clouds are pinker than we give them credit for. 
One of the troubles with the Spitfire was the fact that the pilot felt garish and exposed. Having to keep an eye on the sky above to check for enemy aircraft, fly with cloud cover, and frequently fly at dawn or at sunset, these Spitfires were real challenges to their pilots. However, as early spy planes they allowed the Allies to collect much-needed data, while flying close to the ground. And of course, in the evenings, when the sky was pink with the sunset, they were far more invisible than a white plane shining against a pastel cloud.

The Spitfire is a much loved plane, even today. Built in the late 1930s, it has the look of a classic airplane, with an oblong, slightly rounded body, wings that look like a huge oval strapped to the plane, and a ‘blister’ of glass over the cockpit. World War II marked a time of great innovation, which was sometimes practical and sometimes loony. Those two kinds of innovation came together when great military minds decided that to keep an airplane from being spotted, they needed to paint it pink.

The pink, slightly too washed-out to be an actual baby pink, still seems bright enough to signal every enemy within five miles. This is certainly true when the Spitfires were seen from above. They stand out brightly against the ground. To make sure they were rarely seen from above, these planes were painted to fly just under cloud cover. Although the planes were ideally meant to fly at sunset and sunrise, when the clouds took on a pinkish hue and made the plane completely invisible against them, they were also useful during the day. Clouds are pinker than we give them credit for. 

One of the troubles with the Spitfire was the fact that the pilot felt garish and exposed. Having to keep an eye on the sky above to check for enemy aircraft, fly with cloud cover, and frequently fly at dawn or at sunset, these Spitfires were real challenges to their pilots. However, as early spy planes they allowed the Allies to collect much-needed data, while flying close to the ground. And of course, in the evenings, when the sky was pink with the sunset, they were far more invisible than a white plane shining against a pastel cloud.

Late 1800s: Pocket Watch Pistol. Made in England, very rare model, 0.3 caliber.

(Source: darkroastedblend.com)

Mata Hari.
Mata Hari was the stage-name for Dutch-born Margaretha Geertruida (Grietje) Zelle who was an exotic dancer and high class prostitute in Paris. In 1905, after divorcing her husband, she began her career as an exotic dancer, taking the name Mata Hari (meaning “sun” or “Eye of the Dawn”). She posed herself as a princess from Java. Posing as an exotic person was possible in those days because the lack of telecommunications. During this period of her life she was often photographed in scant clothing or nude.
She mixed with the upper class and became a courtesan to many important high-ranking military men and politicians. This put her in a very good position to gather information. During World War 1, the Netherlands remained a neutral nation, enabling Mata Hari, a Dutch national, to cross national borders freely. At one point she was interviewed by British Intelligence and she admittedly to being a spy for the French. The French later denied this. It is still unknown whether this was true.
In January, 1917, the German Military Attache in Madrid sent an encoded radio signal to Berlin, stating that they were receiving excellent information from a German spy codenamed H-21. French intelligence intercepted the messages and were able to identify H-21 as Mata Hari. On February 13, 1917, Mata Hari was arrested in her Paris hotel room. She was subsequently tried for espionage and found guilty. She was executed by Firing Squad on the 15th of September, 1917 at the age of 41.

Mata Hari.

Mata Hari was the stage-name for Dutch-born Margaretha Geertruida (Grietje) Zelle who was an exotic dancer and high class prostitute in Paris. In 1905, after divorcing her husband, she began her career as an exotic dancer, taking the name Mata Hari (meaning “sun” or “Eye of the Dawn”). She posed herself as a princess from Java. Posing as an exotic person was possible in those days because the lack of telecommunications. During this period of her life she was often photographed in scant clothing or nude.

She mixed with the upper class and became a courtesan to many important high-ranking military men and politicians. This put her in a very good position to gather information. During World War 1, the Netherlands remained a neutral nation, enabling Mata Hari, a Dutch national, to cross national borders freely. At one point she was interviewed by British Intelligence and she admittedly to being a spy for the French. The French later denied this. It is still unknown whether this was true.

In January, 1917, the German Military Attache in Madrid sent an encoded radio signal to Berlin, stating that they were receiving excellent information from a German spy codenamed H-21. French intelligence intercepted the messages and were able to identify H-21 as Mata Hari. On February 13, 1917, Mata Hari was arrested in her Paris hotel room. She was subsequently tried for espionage and found guilty. She was executed by Firing Squad on the 15th of September, 1917 at the age of 41.