This case study is an abridged version of Mark Kozak-Holland's eBook: Project Lessons from The Great Escape (Stalag Luft III). It was submitted for publication by email 11/6/08.
It is copyright to M. Kozak-Holland, © 2008.

PART 1 | Introduction to Part 2 | Risk Management Planning 
Qualitative Risk Analysis | Quantitative Risk Analysis | Risk Response Planning
Risk Monitoring and Control | Conclusion | Part 2 - Case Study Exercises

Risk Response Planning

The approach to Risk Response Planning is to reduce the likelihood or impact of the event by adopting risk response strategies, as for example:

  1. Transfer the risk - to another organization, individual, or entity.
  2. Avoid the risk - eliminate conditions for the risk to exist, or drop the task.
  3. Mitigate the risk - minimize the probability of a risk's occurrence or its impact.
  4. Accept the risk - take no preemptive action to resolve it, except contingency plans.

Each escape "department " was responsible for managing the risks associated with its activities by employing risk management strategies. These were discussed with Bushell in daily meetings.

For the first risk - escape plot discovery, the following strategies were employed:

  • A major risk was the discovery of the trap doors, and by paying great attention to their concealment this risk was mitigated. Weeks were spent in designing these trap doors in such a way that they blended into the surroundings of the room, see Figure 6.
Figure 6: Tunnel trap door concealed under the stove
Figure 6: Tunnel trap door concealed under the stove[6]
  • Ferrets were a continuous risk that the team had no option but to accept. However, the risk could be mitigated through a system of tracking, and an early warning system. Also Bushell kept a list of ferrets that were deemed dangerous to the project. In reality Bushell accepted the risk here as part of the project.
  • Ferrets expected tunneling to be going on. As a contingency to mitigate the risk of a tunnel being discovered multiple tunnels were built in parallel in an effort to have a fallback in case one was found.
  • By putting many resources into cover-up activities like diversion and sand dispersal, risk was mitigated in concealing traces of the tunnel.
  • Another mitigation strategy was reading enemy intent and then taking proactive actions.
  • Some "under the wire" escape jobs, accomplished by breaking through the wire, were encouraged so as to leave the impression that escape attempts were still being carried out. It would look strange if all escape attempts suddenly stopped for a period. Whether the escape made it or not was inconsequential as the main escape was protected. In effect the risk was being transferred elsewhere to the other escape.

For the second risk - dangers with tunnel engineering, the following strategies were employed:

  • The tunnel department had a number of miners and mining engineers, experts in their field, like Wally Floody, and their expertise helped mitigate the risk.
  • To mitigate the risk of tunnel collapse, pains were taken to ensure that the tunnels were level. Any movement in an uneven tunnel could catch the supports or shoring and cause a collapse.
  • A ventilation system was installed to bring air right up the tunnel face, and mitigate the risk of suffocation. This was a complex requirement as the tunnel was long (330 feet/100 m).
Quantitative Risk Analysis  Quantitative Risk Analysis

6. Ibid.
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