[FPSPACE] Special Announcement, and some comments on early post-War intelligence trends

Peter Pesavento pjp961 at svol.net
Mon Mar 28 08:08:58 EDT 2011

Greetings Everyone.


Sometime next week, the first issue of "Space Chronicle" for 2011 will be
back from the printers, and issues will be subsequently in the process of
being mailed out to subscribers.


In that issue, is the second part of my serial, entitled:


Before Sputnik: A Glimpse into What Western Intelligence Knew about Soviet
Rocketry Personalities and Activities.  Part 2.


I would like to engage in some commentary here about the subject matter of
my article.


--It should be kept in mind that my article, while long, remains in scope a
strictly limited overview of the subject.  It is the metaphorical equivalent
of "skipping stones on a lake."  The serial could have easily have been a
five-part installment, there is so much information.  This includes
illustrative materials-including diagrams and graphs-that space did not
allow for inclusion (including Soviet rocketry "management tree" diagrams
that depict who reports to whom).  So what I have done-metaphorically
speaking--is basically use a spade to dig a small hole in the top of a
mostly hidden and quite vast iceberg..


--There has been, for some time, an inaccurate meme that I have noticed
going around that Western Intelligence units were basically clueless about
what was going on inside of Russia for a significant proportion of the Cold
War, and only when photoreconnaissance satellites arrived did some of this
cluelessness get alleviated.  I believe that this inaccurate meme may, in
large part, have its roots in Churchill's famous speech about an "Iron
Curtain" descending across eastern Europe back on March 5, 1946 (yes, a
March anniversary!) at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri:  




>From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has
descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the
ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague,
Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia, all these famous cities and
the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and
all are subject in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to
a very high and, in many cases, increasing measure of control from Moscow. 




Churchill's image of an "Iron Curtain" (meaning exceptionally
all-encompassing and opaque) was quite dramatic and colorful metaphor-wise;
however, in reality, the description was wholly inaccurate.  I think that
many have drawn an erroneous conclusion that an "Iron Curtain" meant that
people could go up to the borders of many of these east European countries,
and apparently run into a an actual physical "wall" of some sort (the Berlin
Wall built in 1961 excepted, which took place 15 years after Churchill's
speech)-one that apparently additionally precluded information gathering and


Not so.


As it turns out, Western Intelligence units appear to have had a numerous
set of conduits coming to them that was supplying them with vast amounts of
information about Russia, from inside Russia.  This is becoming more and
more clear with the continuance of the declassification of materials from
West European government agencies, and in particular the UK's Ministry of


And recently, even more information (that augments what I have highlighted
in my "Before Sputnik" series of articles) has come to light about the
types, and kinds of information available to decision makers in the West,
via their intelligence collection units.  And a very singular, key item came
from--strange as it may seem--a Kew Archive document dump about "flying
saucers" just recently in early March 2011 (another March dated event!)




Most might think it counter-intuitive, but I suspected that in any
information dump that included materials from the 1950s, that there might be
an "outside chance" that documents relevant to my own researches would be
divulged.  And I was right.  (But it took a close look at the
materials-which are quite voluminous.)


There was an information request for some UFO briefing for Churchill from
the early 1950s that was put together by what was termed the "Flying Saucer
Working Party," an echo familiar to me due to its name, from seeing the
"Guided Weapons Working Party" labeled materials that I used in my "Space
Chronicle" article serial.  Among that Churchill/UFO material, was a page
that listed the titles, document numbers, as well as security
classifications of a whole bunch of DSI and DSI/JTIC reports from the early
1950s, previously unknown in the public realm.  (And yes, there was just one
UFO report among the list.)


Let me provide you with an excerpt from this one-page listing, to give you
an idea of what Western Intelligence units had in hand in 1950/1951 time
frame (dates that were on the page released of these particular reports).
These are all about Soviet/Russian subjects.


DSI Report No. 21, "Secret," --Lenningrad  Physico-Technical Institute


DSI Report No. 24, "Top Secret Discreet,"   --Wind Tunnels in the USSR


DSI Report No. 26, "Secret,"  --General Background Information obtained from
German Scientists and Engineers returned from Russia, January 1951


DSI Report No. 27, "Confidential,"  --Major-General Andrei Grigorievich


DSI Report No. 29, "Top Secret,"  --RUS-2 and Dumbo Pulse widths


DSI Report No. 30, "Secret,"  --Physics Institute 1/N PM Lebedev, Academy of
Sciences USSR (Short Title FIAN)


DSI/JTIC Report No. 3, "Top Secret,"  --Russian Valve [vacuum tube] List


DSI/JTIC Report No. 4, "Top Secret,"   --Russian Electronics.


DSI/JTIC Report No. 5, "Top Secret Discreet"  --Russian Manufacture of nerve
gases at Boketavka


DSI/JTIC Report No. 6, "Secret,"  --Receivers in German and Russian Remote
Controlled Missiles


DSI Translations No. 3, "Secret,"  --Moscow Directory (20th January 1950)
Extract of Academies, Scientific Institutes and Laboratories


As one can see from this listing, the "dragnet" of the Western Intelligence
units was diligent, wide-spectrum, and successful.  It is up to a UK citizen
to engage in an information request to garner these reports via the standard
declassification processes.


I should also additionally mention that in the 1954 report (mentioned below)
there is heavy referencing to a 1952 report (with a similar title) that
apparently had a significant proportion of it discussing all of the
information gathered from Glushko's OKB 456 via targeted intelligence
actions (this report currently has not been released to the public).


--With the disclosure by me of this new listing of documents awaiting
declassification at the Kew Archives in the UK, it would be appropriate here
to provide the readership here of fpspace the subheading titles of the
second part of the "Before Sputnik" article serial as listed below.  It
should provide some inkling of what subjects that are covered in the


5.0   Focus on Soviet V-2 Rocket Activities

5.1  Joint Anglo-American Conference, "A Study of the Soviet Guided Missile
Programme," March 1949

5.1.1   Early Soviet V-2 Activity inside the USSR (Moscow region)

5.1.2        Kapustin Yar-and Beyond

5.1.3        Tracking Germans in Russia-Via the Post (and Informants)

5.1.4   "The Ghost Rockets of 1946" Mystery:  Were There Clandestine Soviet
Missile Tests in Occupied Europe?

5.2   Guided Weapons Working Party, "Study of Soviet Guided Weapons (1954),"
September 1954

5.2.1        Status of Soviet Test Stand Capabilities

5.2.2  Soviet Propulsion Research

5.2.3   Electronics, Astronavigation and Computers

5.2.4   Searching for the Missile Manufacturing Base

6.0 "Fingering" Soviet Rocketry Personalities-How Well did Western
Intelligence Know Them?

6.1  Locations, Names, Responsibilities, and (Some) Temperament Descriptions

6.2   Korolov/Korilov/Kurilov/Korolev-The Coalescing of a Man

6.3      What did Western Intelligence Know about the Soviets' Rocketry

7.0  Conclusion: Recognizing the Information Gaps

8.0     Afterword: Korolev's Telephone Number on the "Kremlevka," 1963

9.0 Acknowledgements


For availability and ordering information, please contact the British
Interplanetary Society at the following e-mail address:



mail at bis-spaceflight.com



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