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Cold War
SBO
  
SDRA-8 — STC/Mob
The Belgian stay-behind organisation during the Cold War

During the Cold War, from 1945 until at least 1990, Belgium had a Stay-Behind Organisation (SBO), that consisted of a military branch — SDRA-VIII, also written as SDRA-8 — and a civilian brance — STC/Mob. They were responsible for operations and intelligence respectively [1].

The network was established immediately after World War II (WWII) had ended, in 1945, with help from the american intelligence service OSS (later: CIA) and the British SOE (later: SIS/MI6). For its secret communications, the network used a variety of Belgian, American, British and German spy radio sets, in combination with burst encoders — in most cases the American CK-8 (GRA-71).

The network started by using 'left-overs' from WWII, such as the American SSTR-1 and the British B2 suitcase radios, and later migrated to modern equipment that was purpose built for agent and stay-behind communication. Some devices are fully self-contained single units that are suitable for use in a para­mili­tary environment (e.g. paratroopers), whilst others are multi-unit spy radio sets, that can be hidden in a home or as part of an underground cache. The range is com­ple­men­ted by the pan-European FS-5000 (Harpoon, introduced just before the network was dissolved.

On 23 November 1990, following revelations about the Italian brance of the European stay-behind network (Gladio), it was announced that the network would be shut down, This happened just before the Belgian Parliament was about to start a parlia­mentary investigation into the activities of the network [1]. The official closure followed in 1991. Nevertheless it is known that the network, or its successor, was still oprational in 1995.

  1. SDRA is the abbreviation of Service de Documentation, Renseignement et de l'Action (Documen­tation, Intelligence and Action Service).

Belgian stay-behind radios on this website
Unknown spy radio set, developed in Belgium or France (1945)
Unknown
American WWII suitcase spy radio set SSTR-1
Type 3 Mark II, also known as the B2
RS-1 (AN/GRC109)
Belgian post-war version of the UK Type 36/1 (MCR-1), made by MBLE (Philips)
Mk. 121
Mk. 123
Automatic CIA agent radio set
LW/MW/SW pocket receiver
RR-49 receiver
Belgian RST-101 spy radio set (MBLE)
German spy set SP-15
German spy set SP-20
TAR-224A spy radio set
Telefunken spy set FS-5000 (HARPOON)
Other equipment
CIA coder/keyer CK-8
Europe: fully electronic hight-speed burst encoder (1980)
Known equipment
Below is a non-exhausitve list of radio sets of which it is known that were used by the Belgian stay-behind organisations. The list also shows the country of origin of each of the radios. For corrections and additions, please contact us.

Belgium
USA
UK
Germany
Branches
The Belgian stay-behind network consisted of the following branches:

  • SDRA-VIII
    SDRA-VIII (also written as SDRA-8) was one of the sections of the SDRA — the Belgian military security service, which in turn is part of the SGR — the General Military and Security Service. The members of SDRA-8 were military personnel, trained in Unorthodox Warfare (UW), combat, sabotage, parachute jumping, maritime operations, etc. It was sub­ordinate to the SGR and fell therefore under the responsibility of the Minister of Defense.

  • STC/Mob
    STC/Mob was the civilian branch of the Belgian stay-behind network. Their mission was to collect intelligence whilst under enemy occupation, which would then be passed on to the government (in exile). They were also responsible for organising secure evuation routes for people with official functions. The STC/Mob was subordinate to the Staatsveiligheid (State Security) and fell therefore under the responsibility of the Minister of Justice.
References
  1. Wikipedia, Belgian stay-behind network
    Visited 17 January 2024.

  2. Wikipedia, Belgian General Information and Security Service
    Visited 8 February 2024.
Further information
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Crypto Museum. Created: Wednesday 17 January 2024. Last changed: Friday, 21 June 2024 - 07:29 CET.
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