Pistol custom-built to assassinate Adolf Hitler and the shot almost heard around the world | UK | News | Daily Express
The audacious assassination attempt required that two soldiers - one British sniper partnered with a German-speaking Pole - land unnoticed amongst the Alps surrounding Hitler’s Berghoff residence in south Germany.
Once in place, the sniper would then use the modified Karabiner 98k rifle to murder the führer - bringing an abrupt end to the third reich.
The aborted ‘Operation Foxley’ was put together after a captured German guard revealed that Hitler enjoyed an unguarded walk each morning whilst staying at his holiday hideout in the Bavarian Alps.
That allowed British conspirators a 20minute window of opportunity to shoot the führer - as Adolf Hitler meandered from the Berghoff to a local tearoom from 10am every morning.
A German luger - fitted with a custom-made British silencer - built for the mission has now gone on display in the Combined Military Services Museum in Maldon, Essex.
Museum historian Clive McPherson said: “I think this is a really interesting sideline to history.
"It’s interesting to think what would be different if they had gone ahead with the plan."
The luger being displayed in Essex was designed to dispatch anybody that interrupted the intrepid plot - whilst the sniper was given a German military standard-issue bolt action rifle which he was to use to single-handedly kill the figurehead of the Third Reich.
But the shot was never fired.
Originally set for July, the assassination was dropped in late 1944 when British Intelligence decided that Hitler’s frantic decisions were doing more harm to the Nazi party than good.
Mr McPherson said: “It shows the pragmatism of the British in that they realised Hitler was making so many mistakes it was better to leave him in place”
Had ‘Operation Foxley’ succeeded, it is estimated that one million lives could have been saved - by stopping the bombing of German cities and liberating the concentration camps.
But had British Intelligence authorised the assassination attempt, historians admit it is unlikely a sniper would have been able to reach the a viable firing position - the Karabiner 98k rifle to be used was only deadly accurate from less than 300 metres.
There were other murder plots designed for Adolf Hitler - including bombing his personal train and poisoning his water supply.
Mr McPherson said: “Only 10 of the Luger pistols were ever specially adapted by the Special Operations Executive for the mission and we have three on display here.