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Most Secret Free French Forces of the Levant Map of Syria and Lebanon.

Superb color-printed map of Syria and Lebanon, prepared by the Free French Forces of the Levant, and overprinted with "going" information from the 18th Field Survey Coy R.E. from material supplied by the 9th Army.

The map, which is printed on six unjoined sheets, is categorized "Most Secret", which, prior to 1943, was the British equivalent of the United State's "Top Secret" classification, i.e., the highest non-BIGOT classification.

The primary characteristic of the map is the color-fields which represent the passability of the terrain -- information that was of vital use for off-road operations:

Salmon: GOOD - i.e. allowing speed to M.T. of 12 m.i.h. and upwards.
Yellow: FAIR. - i.e. allowing speed to M.T. of 8 m.i.h. and upwards.
Green: BAD. - i.e. allowing speed to M.T. of 4 m.i.h. and upwards.

This kind of information was of great importance not just to British and Free French Forces, but also to their Axis enemies, who in the long term hoped to invade the Middle East from the Caucasus in search of oil. Because of the usefulness of this "going" information to both offense and defense of the British position in the Middle East, it was given the classification "Most Secret".

The map includes names of tribes, Arab names, and "antique" names.

The key on the lower sheets shows an additional, seventh, sheet was possibly appended to the map in the lower-left corner, but the composition of the map -- with the title in the upper left and key in the lower right -- suggests that it is complete as is.


We have found one example of the single-sheet, non-overprint F.F.L.L. edition at the Library of Congress. Additional examples seem to appear at the University of Iowa, University of Illinois, SMU, and Oxford University, though in all cases the descriptions suggest these examples are not the "going" information overprints.