King's College London
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Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: Espionage during the Cold War

Surveillance Equipment of the Cold War

Confiscated BRIXMIS Equipment including a long lense camera, and assortment of maps and cameras as well as filmConfiscated BRIXMIS Equipment Gadgets were a common feature used by intelligence officers for surveillance during the Cold War. Easily concealed in agents' clothes and bags, gadgets could even resemble everyday objects, such as beer cans or calculators.

For BRIXMIS officers, equipment varied from this. The need to conceal equipment was necessary, but the main requirement was providing equipment capable of taking high quality photos of aircraft, as well as other ground military vehicles.

Picture of smiling BRIXMIS officer in a one man tent, in a snow covered forestBRIXMIS Officer Camping in Forest It was common practise for officers in BRIXMIS to extend their designated hours in the Eastern zone of Germany.  In many cases agents opted to camp out in rural areas in close proximity to prohibited military bases, in the hopes of catching a glimpse of the most modern Soviet and Eastern military equipment.

Additionally, cars were adapted so they were better suited to travel through rough terrain, thus improving the position of the operating agents, as well as to make sure the vehicles were suited to all weather conditions.

DHC-1 Chipmunk plane in flight flying over BerlinDHC-1 Chipmunk Plane over Berlin

One of the most utilised techniques of spying involved the DHC-1 Chipmunk plane. These planes were permitted to fly in East Germany, provided they kept inside the parameters of the agreed upon air corridor.

Chipmunk planes were used to train RAF pilots but the British took advantage of these permitted flights by using them to capture images of East Germany so as to better identify troop movements and bases, as well as military equipment.

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