Ian Cohen
Monique James
Tonya Williams

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 mid-July 1944.
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 152)

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. (Michie 152)

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 faulty decisions. 

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. (Perrault 164) 

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 159)

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 on Normandy.

"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)