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Silent Killing: Nazi Counters to Fairbairn-Sykes Techniques [Paperback]

Phil Matthews
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

15 Oct 2008
aSilent Killinga was the name given to the lethal techniques for dispatching Nazi sentries and other German troops that close-combat masters W.E. Fairbairn and E.A. Sykes taught to Allied soldiers, paratroopers and commandos during World War II. These quick, brutal techniques were so effective that the German Army Command was forced to develop counters to what they termed aEnglish Gangster Methodsa.
This extremely rare manual was printed in 1942 for German troops in occupied Norway and is not believed to have been distributed outside that country. It remained largely unknown until rediscovered in 2001. Silent Killing - Nazi Counters to Fairbairn-Sykes Techniques is the first English translation of the German wartime manual. It contains the original German text and photos, the English translation and annotations, and an extensive foreword by British combatives researcher Phil Mathews, which provides valuable new information about the origins of the manual, how the Germans obtained the asecreta Allied training documents and the state of close combat instruction in Germany and Britain before and during World War II. The historical value of this manual for students of World War II, Fairbairn and Sykes, and hand-to-hand combat is immeasurable.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 114 pages
  • Publisher: Sycamore Island Books,U.S.; annotated edition edition (15 Oct 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1581606486
  • ISBN-13: 978-1581606485
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 13.7 x 0.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 403,353 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting alternative view 30 Aug 2009
Format:Paperback
As a long time collector of martial arts / self defence books and an instructor with thirty years experience I found this book a fascinating insight into how the Germans sought to counter the techniques as taught by Messrs Fairbairn and Sykes. I am lucky enough to own several other titles written by Fairbairn so this made an interesting addition to my library. The techniques as shown are, in some areas a little suspect, but this may be down to the fact that the book was printed in an occupied country and I have little doubt that the text was 'interfered' with shall we say. This fact in itself makes it of historical interest, I believe, to anyone who has an interest in the development of CQB / Combatives. I think Phil Matthews is to be congratulated for bringing this title out and making it available once more.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting look into the past 29 May 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book further to an interest in Messer's Fairbairn & Sykes and though it would be interesting to see how those "on the receiving end of their skills" as it were, saw things.

This book provides an annotated version of the photographs and text from a German document produced in (or for) the Norwegian occupying forces, in which it describes the methods developed for German troops which it was thought would offer some defence against Allied Commandos and various other agents.

In my view the placing of an English translation on the opposite page of the German images and descriptions works very well indeed and the salient use of infrequent foot notes helps clarify key points, without becoming a distractive commentary.

The opening chapter by Mr Mathews nicely sets the wartime scene whilst at the same time pointing out the questionable veracity of the document's origin.

I would regard this as an "easy read" in that the descriptions are straight to the point with no wasteful references to anything other than the techniques at hand (forgive the unintentional pun).

The soldiers in each image (to my eye at least) are clearly not competent pugilists, given the "wooden" stances and application of techniques, even after taking into consideration the need to "stage" many of the poses given that many soldiers of the early to mid 1940's may have had little (if indeed any) exposure to what we would consider to be "martial arts" today.

It is interesting to note (and although it is not referred to in this book it is not a criticism in any way) that the New York Police Department had complained of U.S gangsters having access to this material.

If U.S.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book should be useful for serious students of unarmed combat in WW2. In German and English, with illustrations, this slim volume was meant to teach ordinary German soldiers how to beat British commandos in unarmed combat. It should be read alongside the British manual All-In Fighting.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting sidelight to history 7 Jan 2011
Format:Paperback
This nice softback is perhaps the only way that most of us will ever get easy access to this rare little manual of WW2. It is competently translated, an easy read, and considering that the original illustrations were probably not printed that clearly has come out very well. It is quite short, but I would endorse many of the comments made by other reviewers, and will therefore not repeat them.

Something that is intriguing however is the question of the original booklet's origins. It is very strange that it lacks the normal types of German identifying marks, odd that it refers only to Norway, and inept in that it trumpets the idea of 'English Silent Death' to hapless sentries. Nowhere does it reassure them, or tell them to use their firearms in case of a problem... Nor is the unarmed combat suggested a very effective counter to the many different techniques mentioned in Fairbairn and Sykes, or other UK and US training literature. In short the whole thing is suspiciously like a British 'Black Op' designed to undermine morale, and encourage the deployment of more of the enemy to Norway - where there was no intention for the Allies to make full scale landings. This however only serves to make the volume more interesting and worth a look. Get one and see what you think !
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Amazon.com: 3.3 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not _exactly_ what it sounds like. 4 Nov 2009
By D. Kimball - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a translation of a pamphlet which was only published in Norway, and does not seem to have been put into practice -- not least because, as the translator points out, a number of the techniques involved would simply not work. I had bought the book in order to get a picture of what weaknesses might be present in Fairbairn's techniques, as research for a set of video games I'd like to create someday (I'm attempting to sort out how a martial-arts tradition beginning with Fairbairn-like unarmed attacks could evolve); but it looks like this wasn't helpful in that regard.

As a historical document, this is valuable; but the cover implies that it's not just a historical document.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Silent Killing - Nazi Counters to Fairbairn-sykes Techniques: The Annotated English Tranlation of the Classic German World War I 11 Feb 2010
By D. Doveri - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
there is really nothing in there that is not common sense. getting the chin down and pivoting away from a rear attack with a knife... block and kick type responses that are almost exactly or exactly as Fairbairn and Sykes and Applegate taught their students. of historical interest, but not really any thing new.

It does go to show that the axis was adopting much in the hand to hand combat aria that they were seeing the allied forces use.
5.0 out of 5 stars highly informative 7 Jun 2014
By Papa2 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
NAZI response to SOE training shows the impact the special operation agents had on the occupiers. It is a window into the past: especially martial arts self defense techniques that predated the acceptance of karate, kung fu and the array of disciplines practiced in the field today.
7 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A German World War II combat manual devised specifically to help German sentries defend themselves 12 July 2008
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Silent Killing: Nazi Counters to Fairbairn-Sykes Techniques is the annotated English translation of a German World War II combat manual devised specifically to help German sentries defend themselves against the lethal "Silent Killing" techniques that close-combat expert W.E. Fairbiarn and E.A. Sykes taught to Allied soldiers, paratroopers, and commandos during World War II. Originally printed in 1942 for German troops in occupied Norway (and presumably not distributed outside that country), the manual is now available in its first ever English translation. The original German text and black-and-white photographs are also included, in this historical and practical martial arts relic. Especially recommended for any students, researchers or practitioners of Fairbairn-Sykes Techniques and defenses against them.
1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars skip it 4 April 2012
By tlk - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The German defense against anything is always the same. Kick him in the shins, punch him in the nose. Its why they lost. Skip it.
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