"In total, OPERATION BODYGUARD would consist of more than 35 subordinate plans and operations all focused on the common goal of paralyzing the ability of the Germans to react to Allied actions in a decisive and effective manner. The goal sought and achieved was to paint creditable threats from all sides of the Reich such that Hitler could not reinforce at any one point 3 without accepting risk in another area. The most important, elaborate and successful of these operations were FORTITUDE-NORTH and FORTITUDE-SOUTH." Anthony Cave Brown, Bodyguard of Lies (New York: Harper & Row, 1976)

"The enemy must not know where I intend to give battle. For if he does not know where I intend to give battle he must prepare in a great many places. And when he prepares in a great many places, those I have to fight in any one place will be few.. .And when he prepares everywhere he will be weak everywhere." -Sun Tzu


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Before the Allies stormed the beaches of Normandy in history’s largest amphibious assault, they staged one of history’s greatest military deceptions—Operation Bodyguard. The top-secret ruse—complete with rubber tanks, body doubles, fake radio chatter and double agents—successfully duped Adolf Hitler and Nazi commanders and laid the groundwork for D-Day success on June 6, 1944.
As Nazi Germany tightened its grip on much of Europe in the summer of 1943, Allied military leaders decided to make the sandy beaches of Normandy the epicenter of a massive invasion that would liberate the continent and turn the tide of World War II. The Allies needed nearly a year to prepare for the complicated offensive, but they knew that the entire D-Day mission could be doomed to failure if the Nazis gained even 48 hours of advanced notice on its location and timing, so they launched an elaborate disinformation campaign, codenamed Operation Bodyguard, “to induce the enemy to make faulty strategic dispositions in relation to operations by the United Nations against Germany.”
To cloak the details of the true invasion site, the Allies employed a complex web of deception to persuade the Nazis that an attack could come at any point along their Atlantic Wall—the 1,500-mile system of coastal defenses that the German High Command had constructed from the Arctic Circle to Spain’s northern border—or even as far away as the Balkans. Vital to Operation Bodyguard’s success were more than a dozen German spies in Britain who had been discovered, arrested and flipped by British intelligence officers. The Allies spoon-fed reams of faulty information to these Nazi double agents to pass along to Berlin. For instance, a pair of double agents nicknamed Mutt and Jeff relayed detailed reports about the fictitious British Fourth Army that was amassing in Scotland with plans to join with the Soviet Union in an invasion of Norway. To further the illusion, the Allies fabricated radio chatter about cold-weather issues such as ski bindings and the operation of tank engines in subzero temperatures. The ruse worked as Hitler sent one of his fighting divisions to Scandinavia just weeks before D-Day.
the battle of normandy, 1944, western europe, nazi, germany, southern england, world war II, d-day
the battle of normandy, 1944, western europe, nazi, germany, southern england, world war II, d-day
The most logical place in Europe for the D-Day invasion was France’s Pas de Calais region, 150 miles northeast of Normandy and the closest point to Great Britain across the English Channel. The Allies had passed over the region as a landing spot because it was the most heavily fortified section of the Atlantic Wall, but they wanted to delude the Nazis into thinking they were taking the shortest route across the channel.
To give the appearance of a massive troop buildup in southeast England, the Allies created a largely phantom fighting force, the First U.S. Army Group, headed by George Patton, the American general whom the Nazis considered to be the enemy’s best commander and the logical man to lead a cross-channel invasion. The Allies broadcast endless hours of fictitious radio transmissions about troop and supply movements and planted wedding notices for fake soldiers in local newspapers. They deceived Nazi aerial reconnaissance planes by fashioning dummy aircraft and an armada of decoy landing crafts, composed only of painted canvases pulled over steel frames, around the mouth of the River Thames. They even deployed inflatable Sherman tanks, which they moved to different locations under the cover of night, and used rollers to simulate tire tracks left behind in their wake.
Since Allied code-breakers had been successful in deciphering Germany’s secret communications, they knew that the Nazis had fallen for the deception as D-Day approached. In the weeks leading up to the invasion, the Allies stepped up their aerial attacks on Pas de Calais to throw the Nazis off the scent. They even employed Lieutenant M.E. Clifton James, a bit Australian actor who bore a striking resemblance to Bernard Montgomery, to impersonate the British general. After James spent time with Montgomery to study his mannerisms, he donned one of the general’s uniforms and black berets and flew to Gibraltar on May 26, 1944, and then to Algiers where German intelligence was sure to spot him and surmise that no attack across the English Channel could be imminent with the Allied general scouting the Mediterranean.
As the D-Day assault on Normandy began, the deception continued. Allied aircraft flying toward Pas de Calais dropped clouds of aluminum strips to give false radar readings that made it appear as if a large fleet was approaching. Other aircraft far away from Normandy dropped hundreds of dummy paratroopers that were wired to simulate the sounds of rifle fire and grenades when they hit the ground. British special operations forces also landed amid the dummies and operated phonographs to broadcast the sounds of soldiers’ voices and combat fire.
In spite of the success of the initial landing, Operation Bodyguard did not end on June 6, 1944. Three days later, Spanish businessman Juan Pujol Garcia, who was one of Britain’s most valuable double agents, fed information to Berlin that the Normandy landing was merely a “red herring” and that the most critical attack was yet to come with the First Army poised to strike at Pas de Calais. As proof he pointed out that Patton had yet to move from England. So trusted was Garcia that Hitler delayed releasing reinforcements from Pas de Calais to Normandy for seven weeks after D-Day as the Allies gained the toehold they needed to achieve victory in Europe, a result that may not have been possible without the audacious scheme to fool the Nazis.

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By Jamie Rubin for 'The Abrams Report'
updated 6/5/2004 4:22:30 AM ET

An astonishing 155,000 Allied troops disembarked on the beaches at Normandy on June 6, 1944, and 5,000 of them, including some 3,000 Americans, made the ultimate sacrifice that day. Yet the cost might have been far higher had it not been for a series of carefully planned Allied deceptions carried out months before the invasion.
Operation Bodyguard was an elaborate scheme giving the illusion of five fake offenses designed by the Allies to distract and divert German forces away from Normandy, where the real invasion would occur. Operation Bodyguard included a number of smaller operations, including Operation Fortitude, which was created to deceive the Germans about where the D-Day invasion would occur. Fortitude North planned a phony invasion of Norway through Scotland—the Allies rigged the Swedish stock market to make it look like Norway would soon be liberated, and radio chatter sent signals about soldiers obtaining winter gear supplies.
Meanwhile, Fortitude South feigned an invasion of France at Calais, through the Straits of Dover. Strategically, this seemed like the best place for an Allied invasion.
Slideshow: Images of D-Day As part of the deception, the Allies set up dummy tanks, oil storage depots, and even airplanes on the ground. Spies and double agents helped convince German intelligence an invasion was coming and even created the “First U.S. Army Group,” or “FUSAG,” a troop of made-up U.S. and British forces to throw off the enemy.
To drive the point home, phony radio transmissions were made and they made it clear that Gen. George Patton, a field commander who had won respect from the Germans in the h Africa and Italian campaigns, was leading this "ghost army."
All the trickery paid off. On the day of the invasion, the Germans remained convinced that the landing at Normandy was just a diversion for the real invasion yet to come in the Pas de Calais area. Operation Bodyguard is now remembered as a crucial part of the Allies’ success in winning the war against the Germany.
Is deception an important part of warfare? Learn more about Operation Fortitude South on a special //"Abrams Report,"// Saturday at 6 P.M. ET.

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'Operation Bodyguard' a Key to Victory on D-Day

external image rickmoran-1578484714.sized-50x50xf.jpgBY RICK MORAN JUNE 4, 2014CHAT 23 COMMENTS
As the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings at Normandy approaches, you will no doubt read stirring accounts of the bravery and heroism of Allied troops that were involved. You'll read about the logistics miracle that made the landings possible as well as the subsequent thrust into France. There will be articles about the planning that went into the attack (out the window when so many units failed to land on their designated stretch of beach), and the turn of the weather upon which Operation Overlord depended.
But before the 5,000 ships, 13,000 aircraft, and 160,000 men steeled themselves for combat as they approached the Normandy coast, the battle -- and probably the war -- had already been won.
A gigantic deception was being perpetrated on the German army by the most colorful cast of characters ever tasked with winning a war. Double agents, con men, British noblemen, radio operators with a sense of humor, and, finally, the most colorful soldier of them all: General George S. Patton.
The deception -- known as Operation Bodyguard -- had a dozen different elements each designed to further the basic goal: confuse the Germans about where the landings would take place, keep them guessing about how many troops were engaged, and mask the actual date of the assault. "Bodyguard" was chosen as a name for the operation based on one of Winston Churchill's most famous quotes: "In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies."
Deception had attended every major Allied landing up to that time, and we were getting very good at it. Part of the reason was that the British had broken some high-level German army codes and were able to read some of what the Nazi plans were. But for two years prior to D-Day, the British and American spymasters had come up with several gimmicks that were destined to flummox the Germans on the lead up to D-Day.
It all began with Operation Double Cross -- the capture of most of the German spies in England and their transformation into the most effective double agents in Europe. The operation was run by MI5 and was overseen by the Twenty Committee chaired by Sir John Cecil Masterman, who would go on to become vice chancellor at Oxford. Masterman designed an intricate plan that had the double agents feeding disinformation to the German army intelligence organization known as the Abwehr. Most of it was useless -- or even fanciful, like reporting that the British had developed electric canoes -- but there was just enough truth in the reports to get the Abwehr to place great faith in their spies. By June 1944, that confidence in their intelligence would be their undoing.
Essentially, Operation Bodyguard was the overall designation for a series of smaller operations. The most important of these was Operation Fortitude South, where, with spectacular panache, British intelligence built an entire American army out of nothing -- First Army Group South, or FUSAG. Using deception techniques honed in Sicily and North Africa, fake radio traffic was generated, dummy rubber landing craft, tanks, and planes were placed in plain view, "leaks" to diplomats were generated, and having General Patton, who the Germans were convinced would command FUSAG and lead the invasion, show up in a variety of locations to keep the Germans guessing about where the main thrust of the invasion would take place.
All of this disinformation was regularly "confirmed" by the Abwehr's trusted spies in England, who were following the orders of the Twenty Committee.
Perhaps Fortitude's most notable success was convincing the German high command that the invasion would take place at Pas-de-Calais and not Normandy. Reading German wireless messages, the allies discovered that the German army believed that's where the invasion would occur anyway, so it was easy to feed into their expectations.
Other elements of Bodyguard were designed to freeze German garrisons in Greece, the Adriatic, Norway, and the Bay of Biscay in France. The more troops they could pin down elsewhere, the fewer could be rushed to Normandy in the days following the invasion. The Nazis already outnumbered Allied forces considerably in France and hiding the actual invasion site for as long as possible was paramount in order to give General Montgomery, the overall commander of the invasion forces, time to build a broad front.
Indeed, the plan worked to perfection. Fully seven weeks after the Normandy landings, Hitler and Reich Main Security Office (who had destroyed the Abwehr in 1943) were insisting that the D-Day landings were a diversion and the blow would fall on Pas-de-Calais. By the time the German army realized their mistake, it was too late.
One final deception was carried out by the U.S. Army Air Force in the days leading up to the invasion…