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16.4.1941 - Operace Benjamin

16.4.1941 - Operace Benjamin

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Operation Benjamin was the code name for the paratroopers sent during World War II. World War II from England to the territory of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. The airdrop was organized by the intelligence department of the exiled Ministry of National Defense and was included in the first wave of airdrops.

The landing party had a single member, Sergeant Otmar Riedl. His task was to deliver crystals for radios and messages from President Beneš to the resistance fighters in the protectorate, gen. Sergej Ingra and col. František Moravec. Another task was to examine new possibilities of connection between the domestic and foreign resistance. If possible, Riedl was to return to England via the Balkan Peninsula.

Otmar Riedl

After two failed attempts (February 17 and March 13), Riedl was landed on April 16, 1941. The planned landing site was near the village of Křečhoř in the Kolín region. But the crew of the plane was attacked twice by anti-aircraft artillery, so it had to change its direction several times, so it went astray and landed it on the Austrian-Italian border in the Alps near Landeck, 460 km away from the planned location. Riedl ate the capsule with the messages, hid the spare crystals for the walkie-talkie and set off on his way to Bohemia. In case of arrest, he prepared a legend that he was returning from Yugoslavia, where he worked for Bata (he was actually employed by Bata before the war) and was robbed of his documents by an unknown man on the train. The German customs officials who detained him handed him over to gendarmes, who believed his legend (after verifying the information at the personnel department of f. Baťa in Zlín). He was released after serving a two-month sentence in Innsbruck prison for illegal border crossing.

Three months after his release, he tried to establish contact with the resistance at the agreed place (at the Vinohradská spořitelna in Prague). But the attempt did not work. Riedl survived the war as the manager of Bať's store in Trhové Sviny. At the end of the war, he also took part in revolutionary battles here. He failed to establish contact with the resistance, the Gestapo never learned of his mission because there was no one to betray him. Riedl was the first to be kicked out of London.

Riedl ended his mission on May 10, 1945, when he reported to MNO, Maj. Thumbelina. Here he learned that he was considered missing and probably dead.