In 1940, Robert Jean Marie de La Rochefoucauld fed France to escape the Gestapo forces. He would then come back three years later, becoming a lethal French resistance operative trained by the British to do sabotage and reconnaissance missions on enemy territory, and would become the greatest French saboteur.
After France fell in 1940, the Gestapo took La Rochefoucauld’s father because of his close ties to the anti-Hitler government. With the help of the French resistance, the young aristocrat managed to escape to Spain, assuming a new identity.
He later joined the Special Operations Executive, a special force. There, the young aristocrat was trained to jump out of planes, set off explosives, or even kill using his hands.
Sentenced to Execution
On June 1943, he destroyed an electric substation and blew railroad tracks at Avallon but he was captured and sentenced to execution.
But he managed to jump out of his captor’s truck, doge bullets, and came across a limousine flying a swastika flag with the driver nearby and keys in the ignition. He drove off the car and caught a train to Paris by hiding in one of its bathrooms.
In May 1944, he was parachuted back to France, and smuggled explosives into a German munitions plant in Bordeaux, hiding them in loaves of bread. He set off the explosives and fled on a bicycle and was caught again by the Germans.
Donning a Habit
In his cell, he pretended to have a seizure, and when the guard opened the cell, he broke his neck. He then took the guard’s uniform and escaped.
He then contacted a French underground worker whose sister was a nun. He used her habit and walked for miles right in front of countless Nazi agents until he reached the home of a more senior agent, who once more, hid him.
In another mission, he was once again captured and brought to a field to be executed via firing squad, but his fellows in the resistance occupied the Nazi’s machine guns, buying him more time to leave safely.
For his work as a secret agent, he was awarded orders Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur, Croix de Guerre, Médaille de la Résistance and the British Distinguished Service Order and Distinguished Conduct Medal. He would then go on to become the mayor of Ouzouer-sur-Trézée for thirty years.