The recent posts on American Manual Alphabet made me recall something many decades past. A summer long past at primary school when I had become interested in codes and cyphers. One of the books in my possession back then was “The KnowHow Book of Spycraft”. Recently I have been reading the “The Official CIA manual on Trickery and Deception” and realize many of the ideas in the children’s book are more practical than you might expect. Supposedly Soviet spy Oleg Gordievsky, testified that the KnowHow book gave away the KGB’s tradecraft.
When I look at the tracks of a bicycle in the snow and estimate its speed, it is something I learnt from the KnowHow Book of Spycraft. Even today this book and the related “Usborne Spy’s Guidebook” are well worth a flick through, especially if you want to inspire a youngster to noticing more than their phone.
The reason I recalled this book is that it contained the following page:
The system is less like British Finger Spelling than I had thought. Some of the single-handed signals have potential as useful supplements to the AMA symbols we have already learnt. For example, “Echo”, “Foxtrot”, “Mike”, “November” and possibly “Uniform” will all be clearer over a greater distance than standard AMA signs. “Juliet” can be made with less hand movement, although I would suggest this is always made with the four fingers raised to distinguish it from the standard “Lema” gesture.