Operation Foxley

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During World War II, Operation Foxley was a 1944 plan to assassinate Adolf Hitler, conceived by the British Special Operations Executive (SOE). Although detailed preparations were made, no attempt was made to carry out the plan. Historians believe the most likely date for an attempt would have been 13–14 July 1944, during one of Hitler's visits to the Berghof.

Prior plans[edit]

One of the first actual British plans to assassinate Hitler was to bomb the special train "Amerika" (in 1943 renamed "Brandenburg") he travelled in; SOE had extensive experience of derailing trains using explosives. The plan was dropped because Hitler's schedule was too irregular and unpredictable: stations were informed of his arrival only a few minutes beforehand.

Another plan was to put some tasteless but lethal poison in the drinking water supply on Hitler's train. However, this plan was considered too complicated because of the need for an inside man.


Ultimately a sniper attack was considered to be the method most likely to succeed. In Summer 1944, a German who had been part of Hitler's personal guard at the Berghof had been taken prisoner in Normandy. He revealed that at the Berghof, Hitler always took a 20-minute morning walk at around the same time (after 10:00). Hitler liked to be left alone during this walk, leaving him unprotected near some woods, where he was out of sight of sentry posts. When Hitler was at the Berghof, a Nazi flag visible from a cafe in the nearby town was flown.

The plan was to assassinate Hitler during his morning exercise, as he walked unprotected to the Teehaus on the Mooslahnerkopf Hill from the Berghof residence. The scheme called for the SOE to parachute a German-speaking Pole and a British sniper into Austria. An "inside man" was recruited, the uncle of a prisoner of war named Dieser, who was a shopkeeper living in nearby (20 km) Salzburg, identified as "Heidentaler", who was vehemently anti-Nazi.[1] Heidentaler would shelter the agents and transport them to Berchtesgaden disguised as German mountain troops, from where they would make the approach to the vantage point for the attack.[2]

A sniper was recruited and briefed, and the plan was submitted.[3] The sniper practised by firing at moving dummy targets with an accurized Kar 98k with a Mauser telescopic sight, the standard rifle of the Wehrmacht, under conditions that simulated the planned attack. Additionally, a 9mm parabellum Luger pistol fitted with a British-made silencer was provided so that the sniper could quietly deal with any threats during their approach to the target. The Luger is now on display at the Combined Military Services Museum in Maldon, Essex.[citation needed]

There was some opposition to the assassination plan among the British authorities, particularly from the Deputy Head of SOE's German Directorate, Lt. Col. Ronald Thornley. However, his superior, Sir Gerald Templer, and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill supported it.[citation needed]

The proposals for the operation was submitted in November 1944 but was never authorised due to a division within the British government as to whether the removal of Hitler from the command of the Third Reich was a sound course to follow to expedite its military defeat. By then, he was considered by the British to be such a poor strategist that it was thought possible that candidates who would be in line to succeed him might present more of a challenge to the Allied war effort. Thornley also argued that Germany was almost defeated, and if Hitler was assassinated, he would become a martyr figure to some Germans and possibly give rise to a myth that Germany might have been victorious if he had not been killed by underhand means, leading to the threat of more wars with Germany in the future. As the Allied war aims had become not merely the military defeat the Third Reich but to destroy the National Socialist political ideology in Central Europe in general, this rendered the proposed operation potentially undesirable. The debate in the British government divided opinion and so the operation was not authorised. Its approval was also undermined by a lack of reliable intelligence as to Hitler's daily routine at the Berghof to give the attack team a reasonable chance for success in the mission.[4]

Hitler left the Berghof for the last time on 14 July 1944, never to return, and committed suicide in Berlin on 30 April 1945, a few days before the war in Europe ended.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Russell, Shahan (6 January 2016). "Britain's Plan to Kill Hitler By Having a Sniper Shoot Him During His Daily Walk To The Tea House". Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  2. ^ http://worldwartwo.filminspector.com/2016/02/operation-foxley-kill-hitler.html#ixzz4pAdeAqtk
  3. ^ Felton, Mark (4 August 2014). Guarding Hitler: The Secret World of the Fuhrer. Pen and Sword. ISBN 9781473838383. Retrieved 26 September 2018 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ Felton, Mark (4 August 2014). Guarding Hitler: The Secret World of the Fuhrer. Pen and Sword. ISBN 9781473838383. Retrieved 26 September 2018 – via Google Books.

Further reading[edit]