Spy Mission to Montana

tools and techniques for pinpointing targets,


Mission to Montana

the sum of contributions from the various sources but the square root of the sum of their squares):

Map Scale

1:62,500 1:250,000

Error in feet

50 percent assurance (half of all foes within
this range of error)  .... ........... . . 200 600
90 percent assurance (nine-tenths of all
within this range) ... ........ .. ....... 365 1,100
The observational component of these ranges of error could without doubt have been considerably reduced by repeating observations manv times and averaging.
The Brunton compass method gave slightly better results than the telescopic alidade. Certainly the Brunton seemed, because of its compactness, ease of operation, and easy concealment, more like the kind of instrument that a covert agent would employ.
In estimating Soviet capability to position U.S. launch sites by such methods, there are other considerations that have to be taken into account. We found that many new roads had been constructed in the area, not shown on the latest printings of U.S. topographic maps. The covert agent would have to have some knowledge of geodesy and mapmaking to assimilate such recent changes. By and large, however, a Soviet clandestine surface operation, by making repeated observations, should be able to locate the sites within approximately the magnitudes of error indicated above.
Our field trip ended without mishap.   Although we thought on several occasions that our car was being followed, no one ever stopped us for questioning.   The fact that the contractor still had responsibility for security in the area, with the primary concern of protecting his materials from theft, probably accounted for our being unmolested. As our plane headed eastward from Great Falls at the end of the survey, a fellow passenger, an employee on the construction project, remarked that several people down there at the sites had been shot, presumably because the local inhabitants sometimes resented intrusions on their property. This information vindicated, as the last missile site dwindled from our view, the premonitory sense of danger with which we had approached the ten-day Montana venture and left us relieved that our survey was over.



Posted: May 08, 2007 08:13 AM
Last Updated: Aug 05, 2011 12:50 PM