Beach Day by Rodger Bliss
October 2022
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Mixed Signals

Close your eyes and imagine this. It’s 1944, D-Day is approaching. Operation Overlord, the Normandy invasion is just days away. But only a select few know how many. Now it’s vitally important that the location of German troop concentrations and munitions dumps be communicated to the Allied command in England. Perhaps even more important the French resistance fighters much now be put to work. Rail lines and bridges need to be taken out, and the timing is critical.

Radio communication is too risky. Information must be exchanged in person. To that end a small boat leaves England headed for the French coast. Two robust young men quietly work the oars, there’s no moon this night and the thick overcast has an unexpected yet welcome measure of security. The third man in the boat is too old and feeble to be of much use rowing, he works the signal light as they near the shore. Three quick flashes follow by a pause, and then two flashes. His counterpart, a retired cavalryman, a veteran of the First World War is hunkered down in the sand on the French coast. He signals three quick flashes with his light, the all clear to come ashore.

The men quickly exchange documents and in an instant they’re gone. The three in the boat swiftly and quietly rowing back to Mother England. But here’s the interesting part. There were lots of German soldiers on shore patrol, each with the keen eyesight of young men. Yet none of them saw the flashing signals. The question is, why?

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2 guesses to Mixed Signals


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  • det

    wild guess: the old mens can see different frequent ranges of light (actually I don’t know), but the youngs can hear lower frequent sounds, so maybe..

  • You’re on the right track, Det. Keep trying.