Deception Surrounding Normandy
The German troops had already taken Czechoslovakia, invaded some of
the Baltic States, Belgium, France, and attempted to cross England.
Times were grave as Hitler stationed some of his troops permanently
in France to hold the country down. The Allied forces started to take
action and agreed to counter the bullying tactics of Germany.
England's leader Winston Churchill, United State's leader Franklin D.
Roosevelt, and the Soviet Union's leader Joseph Stalin, headed the Ally
forces. When brainstorming ways of beating the enemy, Churchill came
up with a new tactic, or at least a tactic that the German troops would
not expect. He came up with a plan of deception which he titled "Plan
Bodyguard." (Breuer 10)
The plan consisted of five parts:
1. Deception: Plant thousands of bits and pieces of information. Germans
would create and have a highly plausible - but false - picture of Allied
capabilities and intentions.
2. Security and Counterintelligence, Handmaidens of Deception: Purpose
was to deny the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW) the secrets of Operation
Overlord. They had to outwit German intelligence services.
3. Offensive Intelligence: Try to divide German intentions.
4. Political Warfare: Pierce German mind through a sustained barrage
of clever, but plausible, propaganda, lies, and fictions, all intended
to lower enemy morale and drive a wedge between Nazi leadership and
the herrenvolk (people).
5. Brutal, Unadulterated Mayhem: To be inflicted upon the Wehrmacht
by constant stealthy command raids and to organize, arm, and control
French, Belgian, and Dutch underground groups in acts of sabotage and
guerrilla warfare that would slow down, or even halt the German reaction
to the invasion of the north of France. (Breuer 13-14)
Churchill even drew up some fake scenarios that he wanted to be dealt
with in Plan Bodyguard. These consisted of:
1. Pretend that the Allies thought that heavy bombing against the Third
Reich was enough to force the surrender of Germany. Therefore the Allies
would bring bombers from the united States and other countries resulting
in a slow, but powerful build up in England. This gathering of weaponry
would imply that any invasion of France could not possible be made before
2. Pretend that Allies would continue to land warfare in May or June
1944 with a coordinated attack on German - held Norway.
3. Allude that a series of major Allied operations would be launched
against the Balkan States in May or June 1944.
4. Pretend that the Soviet Army planned to launch a huge offensive on
the Eastern Front of Germany in July 1944.
5. Pretend that the Anglo-Americans were convinced that German forces
defending Northwestern Europe were so great that no more than 50 division
of Allied troops would have to be gathered in Great Britain. The gathering
and training of these forces would be ready in mid-July, 1944 at the
earliest. (Breuer 15)
The Ally leaders decided to take up the plan of deception, for they
knew that the German troops would not be expecting it. In the long run,
the Allied forces would thank Churchill for his suggestion.
Subsequently, many operations unfolded as the plan of deception was
put to action.
In Operation North Pole, Dutch parachutist were let out over the north
of France and then caught again by Giskes. Transmitters sending messages
to London were also used so that the Germans would pick up false information
on the forces' plans. ( Perrault 170)
The purpose of Operation Titanic was to distract the Germans while airborne
troops were coming down in France. Dummy uniformed paratroopers were
dropped along with fireworks. Large quantities of 'window' were also
dropped to confuse the German radar. It helped the Germans to think
the Dummies were 20 times as large as they really were. (Ellis
Operation Taxable employed ships that were moving towards the Cap d'Antifar
above le Havre. The Germans were confused as to the motivation for these
ship movements and mistakenly thought that the Allies were waging a
war in that part of France. (Ellis 153)
In Operation ABC Control, 29 British Lancaster bombers lured German
night hunters away from the gliders and troop transports that were over
the real invasion area. The real invasion armada was concealed behind
the most "intensive radar jamming operations yet attempted" in the war.
(Ellis 155) The Allied troops used special radio jammers named 'mandrels.'
In their bombing campaign against the Atlantic Wall, Allied bombers
had seriously cripples German coastal radar systems, on which the Nazis
relied. The Allies then blinded or bluffed the systems. Where the real
invasion was taking place, the radar was prevented; in areas where no
invasion was taking place, suggestions of an invasion were falsely broadcast.
The responsibility of the false broadcasts was given to the radio counter-measures
(RCM). The false attacks were under code names that took after the faulty
operations Taxable, ABC Control, Mandrel, and Titanic.
Perhaps the biggest operation of deception in the Normandy Campaign
was the appearance that the Allied troops would be landing in Pas-de-Calais
instead of Normandy. The troops did a series of tactics that fooled
Hitler and one of his main commanding generals Erwin Rommel. The operation
was named 'Fortitude.' The deception plan was made to misrepresent the
Allies' strategy in Europe and thus induce the German command to make
Pas-de-Calais was the nearest French town to the coast of the allied
troops in Britain. The fictitious plan went as follows: the campaign
would open up with an attack on southern Norway launched from Scottish
ports, but the main attack would be on Pas-de-Calais by troops and air
forces stationed in southeastern England. False instructions given under
the Commander-in-Chief of the northern Command, Lieutenant-General A.F.A.N.Thorne,
told about a fictitious fourth army staged in Norway.
All of the German leaders thought the Allies would attack Pas-de-Calais
fist because of its close proximity, and then because it opened the
shortest route for the Allies to Ruhr.
The first thing that the British did was to set up fake headquarters
in Kent, which was a town opposite Pas-de-Calais (the real headquarters
were in Portsmouth, opposite Normandy). The leading Ally Commander her
was Bernard Montgomery. His messages were telephoned to the set up headquarters
in Kent so that the Germans could not pick it up. He would instruct
the officers to then send out false messages by radio, telling of their
planned operations at Pas-de-Calais, so that the Germans could pick
up on them with their radar systems. The Allies' antics helped to confuse
Rommel even further. (Perrault 165)
While the attack was on Pas-de-Calais, the Allies were still preparing
Normandy for the real invasion. They were very careful in their preliminary
bombings. For every installation attacked in the assault area, two were
simultaneously attacked outside of it. This greatly increased the labors
and the losses of Allied air forces during these days, but it will be
clear that they achieved their purpose. (Perrault 103) For every bomb
on Normandy, two were dropped on Pas-de-Calais. Rommel and Hitler thought
that Normandy would be attacked, but that it would just be a diversion
for the greater attack on Pas-de-Calais.
The Allies also set up landing gear in Pas-de-Calais as well as an amount
of troops. Whenever a German plane flew close enough, the troops would
shoot at it, but they had instructions to shoot low enough that they
would miss the German planes altogether. This way, the plane could go
back to the German headquarters and further mislead the commanders.
The Allied forces made use of new inventions to fool the German troops.
Fake Armored Divisions were made by piles and piles of folded rubber
to look like equipment. They were pumped up and became tanks, guns,
and half-tracks. They were left slightly camouflaged at the end of a
forest, but bright enough to be seen by the German troops. Tank tracks
were also left visible. Once they heard of a German spotting their fake
equipment, they would simply pack it up and then transport it to another
spot. (Perrault 164)
Fields would be strewn with hundreds of dummy gliders. Plywood pliers
were built up and down the coast. German pilots with the boldness to
fly over southeastern England were "rewarded with the sight of a fairy
tale landscape."(Perrault 164)
The night before C-Day, dummy landings by the Allies were made at Maltot,
a town southwest of Caen, at Marigny, west of St. Lo, and at Yvetut,
twenty miles inland of the coast between Dieppe and le Havre. All of
these were to suggest a naval and air attack north of the Seine. (Ellis
Four squadrons of Bomber Command carried these tactics out on the towns.
They dropped quantities of dummy parachutists and fireworks, which sounded
like rifle and gunfire. Fake attacks were also made against suitable
beaches new Boulogne. Radio counter-measures of the motor launches,
towing balloons with reflectors and using special equipment and smoke,
and dropping 'window' were intended to emulate the echoes that would
be received by radar from large ships and give the impression of an
approaching convoy. The enemy's shore guns and searchlights were on
the imaginary convoy for three hours before daylight. German night fighters
hunted for the ghost airforce and were not aware of the upcoming attack
"Only when the thunderous roar of the massed Allied
naval guns began their bombardment on the morning
of June 6, did the Germans know where and when
the invasion had come." (Michie 157)