Operation Zinc

'Zinc' was a British special forces operation to parachute a three-man resistance liaison team into the Gbely area of German-occupied Czechoslovakia (27/28 March 1942).

Undertaken at the same time as 'Outdistance', the mission was delivered by an adapted Handley Page Halifax bomber, and comprised 1st Lieutenant Oldřich Pechal, Warrant Officer Arnost Miks and Sergeant Vilém Gerik. The group was tasked to establish an intelligence outpost, like that of 'Silver A', for operations in the Moravia region, but was dropped as far off course as Gbely in Slovakia as a result of a navigation error, with fatal consequences for the group. While attempting to cross the border into Bohemia and Moravia, Pechal was arrested but, though he managed to escape, the Gestapo had his personal documents and was able to identify him. Pechal was arrested once more, on 2 June, and later executed. In the meantime, Gerik voluntarily approached the Gestapo and helped this organisation to trap his own commander: he was arrested at the end of the war, convicted of treason and executed. Miks was wounded during an attempt to seize equipment from a gendarmerie unit, and shot himself on 30 April to avoid arrest and interrogation.