Call of Chicago: Organisation Claude

Villele, in his turn, was summoned to Paris. His boss asked him what he thought of the paratroops.

“There’s a lot of good and a lot of bad in them,” he replied. “They’re dangerous because they go to any lengths and nothing will hold them back … they’re beyond the … notion of good and evil.”

— Jean Lartéguy, The Centurions

In case you haven’t heard, the lovely folks at Studio Deadcrows are successfully crowdfunding a French translation of The Fall of DELTA GREEN. For good and sufficient world-building reasons, Arc Dream remain shy of creating a full-bore French government DG- or PISCES-equivalent unit, but every so often people at the fringes of power touch the edges of the Unnatural. And some of those people have machine guns.

Thus Organisation Claude, not a government outfit like GRU-SV8 or PISCES, or even a deniable program like DELTA GREEN. No, Organisation Claude runs as a straight-up illegal operation on a cell system, behind and sometimes against the walls of the bureaucracy. Now where have we seen that model before? Oh, yes, in the days of the Resistance. And thus Claude began, as a ring of the Resistance within the arch-Catholic Confrérie Notre-Dame network active in the north of France after the end of 1940. Its leader “Claude Griffon” was actually a shared nom du guerre for any cell to use for propaganda, which didn’t stop Claude Griffon from being wanted by the Gestapo … and becoming a DELTA GREEN “friendly.”

In 1942, Organisation Claude provided the Resistance fighters and escorts for the OSS DELTA GREEN operations LIFEGUARD in Cap de la Hague and UPROAR in Fécamp, and the survivors of those actions sniffed out and destroyed a few other Karotechia operations on French soil. They resolved that such sacrileges must be fought wherever they emerged. Despite Gestapo manhunts and the ongoing toll of partisan operations — and nameless horrors — enough of Claude survived the war that when Captain Hugues de Marigny (b. 1917) joined the 1er Régiment du Chasseurs Parachutistes in 1948, he could bring the hard core of the Organisation with him to Indochina. More horror awaited there, but de Marigny survived Dien Bien Phu and a Vietminh POW camp and returned to … Algeria.

          Not pictured: Claude Griffon

In 1956, Commandant de Marigny joined the 3e Régiment de Hussards Parachutistes (3e RHP), newly organized to put down the NLF colonial revolution in France’s keystone colony. He fought terrorists and revolutionaries and the Unnatural all over Algeria, eventually becoming Lieutenant-Colonel in command of the regiment. He seeded new OC cells, or “commandos,” within the Foreign Legion and other paratrooper regiments — his cousin Étienne-Laurent in America had served in the Legion with Randolph Carter in WWI and provided crucial contacts on the Quai d’Orsay and elsewhere. Following the Salan coup attempt in 1961, the 3e RHP is dissolved and de Marigny retires as a Colonel.

De Marigny won’t work with the Communists, as he believes they would consider the Unnatural just another technology or turn it over to Moscow or both, but he has few other scruples. OC commandos, four to six men or women strong (de Marigny knew far too many female fighters in the Resistance to let chivalry guide him here), stand ready not just within the Legion and the security services, but inside the SAC (the Gaullist party covert ops unit), the OAS terrorist organization, and the Marseille Milieu.

Communiques from de Marigny come with the griffon flash of the 3e RHP and the signature “Claude needs you.” Somehow a plane frees up, and “training orders” sometimes get cut. Every so often an arsenal is unguarded, or a pier unwatched. Someone higher up — possibly even de Gaulle himself, who famously keeps personal control of extraordinary units — must be greasing the wheels for OC, but they’re even more anonymous than de Marigny.

De Marigny takes that and all of Claude’s other secrets with him when he commits suicide by pistol on 21 May 1981, while watching the inauguration of President Mitterrand on television at his ancestral home in Normandy.

“What about orders?” an elderly captain inquired.

“No written orders. Do as you see fit. You’ll be covered by the general, you’ve got his word for this.”

— Jean Lartéguy, The Centurions

Regular DELTA GREEN Agents might run across OC commandos in France, or France’s former colonies in Africa, or even in Indochina or the South Pacific. Whether they consider them allies, stooges, or dangerous hyper-Catholic weirdos depends on the cell, and on the Handler’s approach. Only the oldest of OSS hands might remember the name “Claude Griffon,” but OC has an even more paranoid attitude toward security than DG does, so it’s unlikely to come up.

These action items might come up for DG overseas, or for a French-based OC campaign (for which, see the French-US 1960s agency equivalencies table below), or both:

  • France tests nuclear weapons at the In Ekker site (1961-1966) on the northwestern edge of the Hoggar (where “Medusa’s Coil” and “The Last Test” place Atlantean or even prehuman cities) in Algeria, then in convenient-to-R’lyeh Muroroa Atoll (1966-1970). Nukes plus hypergeometry, what could go wrong? Or is France trying to stop Something from coming out?
  • Jean-Luc Bruneau of the Commissariat à l’Énergie Atomique heads up a UFO investigation portfolio personally authorized by de Gaulle in 1967. Before that he or the OC might investigate the Valensole UFO incident (1 Jul 1965) or the Cussac close encounter (29 Aug 1967).
  • The OC goes in all-hands during the May 1968 Hastur outbreak.
  • Newly extended nickel mines in New Caledonia (1969) could open up Pnakotic shafts or release spectral polyps.

Handlers might also wonder what the heirs of the Comte d’Erlette are up to, or the various French cults from Dreamhounds of Paris thirty years later. A few of the old Surrealists remain alive and kicking in the 1960s, offering a chance to combine blasts of inspiration with blasts of gelignite.

 

French Agencies :: US Agencies Table

Commandos-Marine :: Special Forces (Sailor)

Commissariat à l’Énergie Atomique (CEA) :: AEC

Deuxième Bureau :: DIA or ONI

Direction Centrale Police Judiciare (DCPJ; after 1966) :: FBI or FBN

Direction Centrale Reseignements Généraux (DCRG) :: FBI or USAIC

Direction de la Surveillance Territoire (DST) :: FBI; add Cryptography 1 to Investigative options

Direction de la Securité Militaire (DSM) :: AFOSI but may also be Soldier, Marine, or Sailor; add Firearms 3 to General options

Gendarmerie Nationale :: Soldier + FBI Special Agent (without Accounting or Investigative options)

Régiment Ètranger de Parachutistes (REP) :: Special Forces (Soldier), Parachuting as mandatory Special Skill

Service de Action Civique (SAC) :: CIA (DPlans Operative, PAD), USAIC, or Gangster

Service de Documentation Extérieure et de Contre-Espionage (SDECE) :: CIA or DIA

SDECE Groupement des Communications Radioélectriques (GCR) :: NSA

SDECE Service Action :: CIA Special Operations Division

Sûreté Nationale (Police Nationale after 1966) :: FBI or US Marshals


The Fall of DELTA GREEN adapts DELTA GREEN: THE ROLE-PLAYING GAME to the GUMSHOE investigative roleplaying system, opening the files on a lost decade of anti-Mythos operations: the 1960s. Players take on the role of DELTA GREEN operatives, assets, and friendlies. Hunt Deep Ones beneath the Atlantic, shut down dangerous artists in San Francisco, and delve into the heart of Vietnam’s darkness. Purchase The Fall of DELTA GREEN in print and PDF at the Pelgrane Shop.

Leave a Reply