Office of Strategic Services
The OSS 'Arrowhead' style padding: 10px 10px 10px 10px

The Office of Strategic Services (OSS) was the United State's primary intelligence agency for the duration of the Second World War. The OSS' taskings included sabotage, propaganda, intelligence-gathering, the training and arming of resistance fighters in Axis-occupied territories and assassinations directed against Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan and the smaller Axis powers. In secret the OSS was also engaged in a shadow war against the Axis occult programs of Karotechia and the Black Ocean Society, a war fought by OSS agents holding the clearance level Delta Green.


Prior to the outbreak of the Second World War the US intelligence community was highly fragmented, with very little in the way of coordination and cooperation. Foreign intelligence gathering was a responsibility split between the State, Treasury, Navy and War departments. The State department, Army and the Navy each ran seperate code breaking operations. Counterintelligence and domestic espionage was centralised into the hands of the FBI.
The outbreak of the war caused concerns that the fragmented American intelligence apparatus would be unable to compete against a potential adversary, a view most notably held by President Roosevelt. With British assistance a plan was drawn up to centralise and unify American intelligence into a single organisation along the models of the British MI6. On July 11th 1941 the 'Office of the Coordinator of Information' (COI) was established under the leadership of William J Donovan. Initially dependent on the British for intelligence the COI grew rapidly after the attack on Pearl Harbour that brought the US into the war. On June 13th 1942 the Office of Strategic Services was established, incorporating the COI into the new agency.

Wartime Efforts

The initial plans to bring all US intelligence into a single cohesive organisation were quickly shelved after the foundation of the OSS. The Army and the Navy continued to operate their own intelligence branches and the FBI maintained its independence for counterintelligence operations. The OSS answered directly to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and provided them a global overview of the state of the Axis war effort. The OSS established espionage networks within Germany, as well as in the neutral powers of Europe, which fed crucial intelligence back to the strategic leadership of the Allies. The OSS' Switzerland station provided invaluable information regarding the German chemical and biological weapons program, and built a mostly accurate picture of the state of the German war economy.
The OSS also played a major role in the Pacific War. OSS advisors trained and armed anti-Japanese guerilla forces in China and Indochina and collected intelligence on Japanese movements across the Pacific.

The OSS also conducted direct action against the Axis powers, including sabotage and assassination operations. OSS agents were trained and deployed across Europe as part of their 'Special Operations' division with the purpose of assassinating key officials of the Nazi regime, working in close conjunction with the similarly-tasked British Special Operations Executive (SOE). The OSS Special Operations group was the direct inspiration for the CIA's Special Activities Division.

At its peak the OSS employed roughly 24,000 people across the world.


One of the intelligence groups consolidated into the OSS was the P4 Desk of the Office of Naval Intelligence, formally assigned to the OSS as a 'psychological warfare division'. The personnel of the P4 Division were given a special clearance level by the OSS; Delta Green. This clearance level quickly became the unofficial designation of the P4 desk as part of the OSS, and the reports of its agents were signed as 'Office of Strategic Services - Delta Green'.

The OSS-DG's main task during the war was the fight against the Nazi occult group Karotechia and their Japanese counterpart the Black Ocean Society. The OSS-DG conducted numerous operations aimed to disrupt Karotechia's attempts to utilise the unnatural as a weapon against the Allies. Notable operations include the ambushing of Karotechia officers during an attempt to form an alliance with the Deep Ones on the French Coast in Operation LIFEGUARD and operations in the Belgian Congo countering Karotechia's Project PARSIFAL. When the war began turning against the Axis following the 1943 Soviet offensives, the Nazi leadership turned increasingly to Karotechia to deliver victory. Many Karotechia agents were killed in hasty attempts to exploit the unnatural, most notably during an abortive attempt to summon Azathoth on January 10th 1945. The attempt results in the destruction of the Naubadaum castle and a good portion of the mountain on which it sat.

As the Allied armies closed in on Berlin, Adolf Hitler ordered Karotechia to conduct Aktion GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG - an attempt to recreate the Naubadaum disaster on a global scale. Karotechia agents were issued modified Red Cross Pocket Bibles that contained within them instructions to perform the ritual that destroyed Naubadaum castle. OSS-DG, aware to the threat, launched Operation LUNACY - a desperate attempt to destroy Karotechia before they could implement GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG. For three months OSS-DG fought the 'final battle' of the war, successfully preventing GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG from coming to pass.

Dissolution and Legacy

The end of the war brought with it a great outcry of joy and optimism for the future. Almost the entire world had unified under the banner of the United Nations in opposition to the Axis and the future seemed bright and peaceful. The need for the OSS to exist seemed to have passed and, in the then-tradition of not maintaining full-time intelligence agencies during peacetime, President Truman ordered the dissolution of the OSS on September 20th 1945. Some of the OSS' branches were transferred to other institutions whilst others were dissolved entirely.

This attitude quickly faded as the United States and Soviet Union began to posture against each other, proving the need for a full-time intelligence agency in the United States. In 1947 many former OSS agents were recalled to form the operation core of the newly formed CIA.

The OSS has the reputation of being the 'grandfather' of all modern US intelligence groups, the former agents of the OSS carrying great authority in successor agencies such as the CIA. It was in OSS training facilities that American special forces and black operations groups were born, and OSS training methodologies are still employed by groups as diverse as the CIA, NSA and MAJESTIC-12.

Playing the OSS

In a campaign set during the period 1941-1945 the players will most likely be operatives of OSS-DG, fighting against Karotechia or the Black Ocean Society. In such a campaign, the Handler's Guide suggests to keep a few points in mind:

  • Secrets Within Secrets: OSS-DG is a secret department of an already secret organisation. The wider OSS has no idea what kind of war OSS-DG is fighting and the senior leadership of the OSS are entirely unaware that the unnatural is real. Playing as an OSS-DG operative therefore involves layers upon layers of secrecy. Until the leadership of the OSS can be gradually acculturated to the truth of the unnatural the operatives of OSS-DG must keep a careful balance between keeping ones hand to themselves whilst also trying to show the truth to their superiors - in manageable doses, of course.
  • The Club: Within the OSS Delta Green is seen as little more than a group of trumped up analysts who serve no real purpose in the organisation. Even if OSS command learn the truth about Delta Green's war this information is not revealed to the rank and file. Even as Delta Green operatives fight their desperate battles against apocalyptic threats their fellows see them to be 'eggheads with guns' at best and an active drain on OSS' valuable resources at worst. An OSS-DG operative will have few friends and many enemies within the OSS.
  • The War Goes On: Whilst the campaign against the unnatural is Delta Green's priority the deadliest conflict in human history is still raging on. At any moment the hunt for an unnatural creature could be interrupted by the sudden appearance of a Panzergrenadier Batallion or the scream of Stuka's overhead coming in for a dive-bombing. The enemy doesn't know about the unnatural and are more than happy to kill a few Allies who wander away from the front lines without listening to their panicked explanations about things from other realities.
  • Rats Flee the Ship: As the war turns against the Axis the willingness of the average Karotechia agent to 'go down with the ship' is very small. If given half a chance most Karotechia operatives are more than happy to steal away whatever money, gold, artefacts and unnatural knowledge they can carry and vanish into the crowds of war refugees moving across the continent. Some may even be willing to betray their allegiances in exchange for the gratitude of the victors. Whether these turncoats can be trusted is at the discretion of the Handler, but one way or another they must be denied to the enemy.
  • Secrets, Stirred: Karotechia's arsenal of the unnatural is the largest collection of unnatural books, items, samples, creatures and artefacts yet assembled. The fact the vast majority of this stockpile goes unaccounted for as the Allies advance across Europe is not lost on Delta Green, and every last piece of Karotechia's horde must be tracked down before Delta Green can rest easy. But who is to say where rumour ends and the truth begins? Is some unnatural item or another a genuine weapon in the hands of Karotechia, or simply a rumour that has grown over time? Only the Handler can say.

See Also

The intellectual property known as Delta Green is ™ and © the Delta Green Partnership. The contents of this document are © their respective authors, excepting those elements that are components of the Delta Green intellectual property.