|Dimensions||740 x 997 mm|
An intriguing German "Sonderausgabe!" or "Special Edition" map of Oxfordshire. The map was a product of German intelligence gathering prior to the outbreak of WWII and formed part of the planning for 'Operation Sea Lion', the invasion of Britain.
The map is a copy of the 1931, sheet 28, Ordnance Survey half-inch map, that has been scaled up to 1:100 000 in line with standard issue 'Reichskarte' German military maps. A key to the right of the map includes German translations of the maps features and iconography, as well as a 1938 magnetic variation diagram. Printed to the bottom right hand corner of the map '9.38', possibly an indication of production date.
Above the map to the top left it is inscribed 'Karte Von England Und Wales (1 – cm – Karte)' , followed by the title 'Oxford' and 'Nur für den dienstgebraugh!', translating to 'For Service use only', written underneath "Sonderausgabe!". Below the map is the new German scale and two charts of relative positional outlines.
According to the research by J.L Cruickshank these "Sonderausgabe!" or "Special Edition" maps were produced between 1938 and 1940, and are meticulous copies of the corresponding 1:126,720 Ordnance Survey maps. In fact, as a result of redrawing or re-engraving, the line-work is finer than on the originals, despite the enlarged scale. The only substantive change in the content of the maps was that contours and spot-heights were given metric values.
The maps were produced to a very high standard, but being un-gridded, would have been useless for artillery purposes, and suboptimal for many other military uses. The production of these maps was, of course, at the time secret. The use of a civilian body to produce such maps had likewise to be kept secret. Accordingly, and contrary to usual practice, the maps bore no indication of the agency that had produced them. Once the war had started, secrecy about the body producing them became less important. (1)
(1) Cruickshank, J.L. (2004). German military maps of UK & Ireland of World War II. Sheetlines, 69 (April 2004), pp.15-19
Condition: Pressed vertical and horizontal folds as issued. Some spots of foxing to sheet.