Beach Day by Rodger Bliss
May 2024

Tricky Tricks

One of the ways that Allied agents in World War II used to get microfilm for example, past German guards, was to hide it in hollow coat buttons — not the kind that you have on a shirt where the thread goes through but the big ones with the loop on the back. Like you’d have on a winter coat, you know? And the top of the button screwed on and off like a jar lid. Well, anyway this worked for a while but somehow the Germans became aware of this trick and started giving a twist to the buttons on the coat of anyone who looked suspicious to see if any of the buttons unscrewed. When the Allies found out the trick had been discovered, the people in charge of preparing the clothing for undercover agents had to make a change. They did make a change and none of those hollow buttons was ever discovered again. What was the change?

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4 guesses to Tricky Tricks

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  • Roolstar

    Just make them unscrew clockwise!

  • Rool, you nailed it!

    They changed the “handing” on the threads to left-handed. So when the Germans twisted the buttons, they in fact didn’t come off, they got tighter. And after they failed in a few attempts, they gave up on it because they just figured we were not using that trick anymore.

    You are today’s winner.

  • det

    Is this a real story? If I imagine myself, trying to check the buttons I would make a twist into both direction.

  • bc8548

    the bottom screws off the thread kept it in place