Operation SCALPEL

SCALPEL was a Laundry operation begun in early 1942. While it has never officially been concluded, there has been very little SCALPEL activity since the early 1980s, and the few officers on the distro rightly regard it as a highly intermittent task. However, in its early years, it fulfilled a vital OCCSEC mission.

Knowing that the Nazis had plundered the Continent for artifacts of historical and occult significance, the Laundry inserted their own officers into the Allies' Monuments, Fine Art and Archive program which had been set up as part of the Civil Affairs Command. These "Monument Men" landed in Occupied Europe only days after the main landings in Normandy and accompanied Allied forces on their campaigns right through to the end of the war. In fact, SCALPEL teams, at times, traveled in advance of Allied forces when in pursuit of particular artifacts. (The MFAA fielded personnel from every Allied nation, and several notable Americans in the unit were clearly QUARTET officers.)

After the end of the war, SCALPEL personnel joined the Allied Commission on the Repatriation of Art and Artifacts and continued to work to discover and divert dangerous items into Laundry possession. Most of them eventually returned to their highly-specialized civilian employments while retaining a sub rosa association with the Laundry. With the retirement of the last of the original SCALPELs in 1987, the overseeing committee has authorized the assembly of scratch teams from a pool of qualified specialists whenever pertinent matters have arisen.

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