Published on November 2016 | Categories: Documents | Downloads: 42 | Comments: 0 | Views: 420
of 53
Download PDF   Embed   Report

Deception Operations of WW2



Table of Contents
Acknowledgements Authors Note Introduction Chapter 1: Operation Cockade Chapter 2: Operation Fortitude South Chapter 3: Operation Fortitude South II Conclusion Bibliography P. iii p. iv p. 1 p. 9 p. 21 p. 32 p. 41 p. 48


Authors Note
The majority of the primary sources used in this thesis have come from the National Archives in Kew, London. The sheer volume of information on the operations I have chosen to study was mind-blowing. As such many of the sources in my bibliography have a reference number and series at the end of them. This means that there were numerous files under that specific reference number all linked to the area of study. Many of the files also contained a huge number of sub-files the best examples of this would be WO 219/2224 and WO 205/173. Both of these files were enormous containing many different sub-files however they are referenced as single files due to the lack of proper layout and marking in the original file.



“In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies”.1

This quote by Winston Churchill, addressing Joseph Stalin, at the Tehran conference in 1943 conveys the importance placed on intelligence and counter-intelligence by the British government during the Second World War. This importance is reflected by the numerous deception operations run by the Allies during the war. It is very easy to argue that without these operations the outcome of the war could have been startlingly different and may have led to a German or total Soviet victory. The operations run by the Allies were complex and ingenious and there were many people involved who deserve immense credit such as, Colonel John Bevan who was Chief of Staff Supreme Allied Command or COSSAC, Lt. Colonel David Strangeways, Roger Hesketh and later in the deception game though no less important the American Colonel Harris to name just a few. They were brilliant minds all whose names and deeds were unfortunately kept under lock and key until the 1970’s and the publishing of Sefton Delmer’s, The Counterfit Spy. This thesis will analyze three of the major deception operations run by the Allies, Cockade, Fortitude South and Fortitude South II. It is these operations that specifically will be examined for a number of reasons the first of which being they were all deception operations aimed at the same area, the Pas-DeCalais. Fortitude South was half of plan Fortitude, Fortitude North, the other half, was a deception operation aimed at Norway and the other Scandinavian countries the goal of

Brown, Anthony, ‘Bodyguard of lies; the extraordinary story behind D-Day’ (Canada,2002) p xi.


which was to keep the Germans focused on this area for an upcoming invasion to relieve pressure of the Eastern Front and stop the Germans using these units to reinforce the Normandy area. As it was not aimed at the Pas-De-Calais region it will not be a focus in this work. They were implemented within a year of each other yet had totally different goals reflecting the rapidly changing political and military situation at the time. The resources allocated and faith placed in the operations differed significantly. The outcome of the operations was totally different also. These operations are also significant due to their immense scope, they were intricate and complex plans that required the various military wings of the Allied army to co-operate and communicate effectively to achieve the goal. These operations were hugely significant in the overall context of World War 2. Cockade which was implemented mid-1943 was meant to make the Germans believe in an imminent invasion of Europe. The goals of this operation were to relieve pressure on the Soviet Union which had been invaded by the Germans in 1941 and draw the Luftwaffe into a favorable battle with the R.A.F to help the conditions for a future invasion of the continent. Cockade showed an interesting dynamic in the international relations between the Soviet Union and Britain/America. It reflected the nervous nature of the Soviet Union and its mistrust of empty Allied promises of invasion. It was an operation to relieve pressure on the Soviets but not commit untimely to an invasion of Europe. This in turn reveals the cautious nature of the Allies and indeed the fear they had of launching a full invasion until they were totally prepared to do so. It shows that the relationship between the Allies was not rock solid but rather an alliance of desperation based on little trust. Fortitude South shows the same cautious nature of the Allies, ensuring that a landing would be met with as little resistance as possible to increase the odds of success. The operation itself was used to disguise the DDay landings, to make the Germans believe that the Pas-De-Calais region would be where

the attack would take place. This would mean that there would be a much smaller concentration of troops in Normandy greatly increasing the chances for the success of the operation. Finally Fortitude South II continued on the work of South. Its goal was to keep the Germans believing for as long as possible after D-Day that another landing would occur. This would have to be done in spite of the fact that the actual units of the mostly notional back up First United States Army Group (FUSAG) and its leader would be appearing in the Normandy bridgehead and would no doubt be spotted by the Germans. The examination of these operations will look at their goals, why they were necessary, how they were implemented i.e. the various means employed, the successes of these operations and indeed the failures. These deception operations have been looked at in great detail by many authors in the past, this in and of itself shows the significance of these deception operations. This thesis will delve into the details of each of these operations to gain a complete understanding of planning and implementation, however the most important questions which this thesis will ask about these operations are why and what? Why were these plans implemented? Why were their goals so different? Why were vast resources allocated to some and not others? What elements contributed to their successes and failures? These and many other questions will need to be addressed and answered before the full scope of these plans can be properly understood. Literature Review As previously stated many writers have written on D-Day deception tactics indeed even in large general histories of World War 2 and the Normandy campaign such as David Chandler and James Collin’s The D-Day encyclopaedia (New York, 1994) and W.G.F Jackson’s Overlord Normandy 1944 (London 1978) the deception operations are discussed. They were

an integral part of the successful invasion of Europe and have cemented their place in any account of the Normandy campaign. There are of course however a large number of specialised texts dealing exclusively with the deception theatre. Roger Hesketh, who was involved in the ‘Special Means’ (controlled leakage) area of Ops (B) the deception element of the London Controlling Sector (LCS), wrote a classified account of his actions after the war for circulation among those with clearance to read it. This account was however not published until 2002 with the title Fortitude, the D-Day deception campaign (New York, 2002). Due to his specific area of involvement in the deception operations this book focuses on mainly the spy network of GARBO, BRUTUS and TATE however it does delve into the other aspects of Fortitude South in detail. He looks at how the information relayed by the spies was supported by dummy wireless traffic and interpreted by the Germans. Using the spy network he focuses on the history of FUSAG, how fictitious units were created and moved, how changes in its leadership were handled and how real units were moved out of it into Normandy but the overall guise of a powerful reserve army was kept. Anthony Cave Brown’s work, Bodyguard of lies, the extraordinary true story behind D-Day (Canada, 2002), is a highly detailed and information packed text consisting of an analysis of the inception and implementation of Allied deception operations from 1938-45. He goes into immense detail on the spy network and double-cross system, the formation of plans Cockade and Bodyguard and their various elements, and the effects of these operations on the German high command. His work is a seminal text in regards to deception operations and indeed could be called the benchmark for all future works. The only downfall of this work is due to the incredible amount of deception operations run by the Allies which Brown attempts to discuss the accounts are often too brief and require further elaboration.


A good example of this would be his treatment of Fortitude South II which focuses more on the relationship of General Patton to the plan then the details of the plan itself. Other works mainly focus on operation Fortitude, this is due to the fact it is considered by many to be the most successful deception operation in history. These books however each offer something different to the study of the operation. Thaddeus Holt’s work The deceivers, Allied military deception in the Second World War (New York, 2004) is a detailed and brilliant book looking primarily at the relationships between the senior officers in change of deception operations. He gives keen insight into the inner workings of the political system and allows for a very full picture of the personality of the protagonists of these operations to form in the readers mind. There are many works which deal which the use of special means and the spy network in deception operations. The first two books published to explore the use of the spy network and its relation to Fortitude were J.C Masterman’s work The double-cross system 1939-1945 (Yale, 1972) and Sefton Delmer’s work The counterfeit spy (London, 1974). Both books explore the same area of study however Masterman’s is a quick account of spy activities from the beginning to the end of the war while Delmer’s focus is mainly 1943 onwards. The other key difference is that Masterman’s work was commissioned at the end of the war and kept under lock and key for 26 years much like the account of Roger Hesketh. Delmer’s work was written in 1974 and borrowed heavily from Hesketh’s at the time unpublished account. Delmer’s book focuses totally on special means and the spy network and barely touches on the other aspects of the plan. As he had access to Hesketh’s account which included other aspects of the plan it could be viewed that Delmer simply took the “exciting” parts of Heskeths account leaving out many of the key details of the deception operation. Since then the number of


books dealing with spy operations in this campaign exploded. Michael Smith, The spying game, the secret history of British espionage (London, 2003), Terry Crowdy, Deceiving Hitler, (Great Britain, 2008), Gunter Peis The mirror of deception (London, 1978), Ralph Bennett, Ultra in the West, the Normandy campaign 1944-45 (London, 1979) are just a few examples of these. There are far greater quantities of books dealing with the special means side of Cockade and Fortitude then there are broad historical accounts of these operations. This could be viewed as due the simple fact that spy novels sell however despite their no doubt important role in the deception there are other areas which must be examined. The vast majority of the information which will follow was obtained from the national Archives in Kew, London. There are quite literally hundreds of files detailing the different aspects of these operations. The WO (War Office) file series looks mainly at the brass tacks, a layout of the plan, its goals, the ideals ways it was to be fulfilled and what would be necessary for this to happen. These files often contain notes from other departments be they admiralty, air or special means. ADM (Admiralty) files look at the admiralty and give their point of view on the viability of the operation, similarly AIR (Air Force) files give the same information but from the standpoint of the air force. These are the main file types this thesis will draw upon however they are not the only files which contain information on these operations. CAB (cabinet) files, KV (files relating to a person), DEFE (defense files) and PREM (records of the Prime Minister’s office) also contain a wealth of information on these operations and are used in this thesis also. What is really needed is a thorough examination of each element involved in operations Cockade, Fortitude South and South II. Through various authors many of the topics have already been covered, Brown has supplied the overview, Hesketh, Delmar and


others the special means, Holt the relationships of the various figures involved. The gap in knowledge this thesis will attempt to fill is not only an examination of the implementation of these plans and the ways in which the various military wings viewed it but also a full analysis of the success and failures of the operations. This thesis will consist of an examination of Operation Cockade, Fortitude South and South II in turn using the following method. The first step in the analysis will be an examination of the plan. This will consist of an in depth look at the outline plan for the operation. The plan will state what the operation hoped to achieve and how it would go about achieving this. This work will examine the goals to see not just if they were realistic but how they fit into the wider historical context i.e. was there more of a political or military motivation behind the goals or was it an even mix of both. What problems were identified and what solutions were put forward? How did the different military bodies view the plan i.e. the air force, the admiralty? The next step will be to examine the methods that the plan proposed to employ to achieve these goals, where these methods reasonable or asking for too much? Were the methods detailed and potential results worthy of the proposed allocation of resources? This work will then look at the implementation of the plan, did it receive the requested resources and were they used effectively? Were the problems that were recognized in the planning phase properly dealt with during the implementation of the operation? Did all military wings give their pledged support during the implementation of the operation? When examining the implementation of the plan this thesis will encompass all of the elements used in the deception operations, it will delve into the uses of dummy wireless signals, physical deception with the use of Bigbobs, strategic bombing, dummy lighting, and the use of special means, such as controlled leakage and the use of the media. The use of the spy network has been covered in enormous detail by previous authors so this thesis will only briefly look at their role in

these operations; this is by no means a way of undermining their importance as they were no doubt integral to the deception. The final aspect to be addressed in the analysis of these operations is of course did it meet its goals. This however is not as simple a question as one might think. While the operation my not have achieved its stated goals could it still be said to have achieved something? This question will also be addressed when examining the question of the success of the operations.


Chapter 1 - Cockade By the start of 1943 the various victories of the past few years were starting to show a shift in the fortunes of war. The Germans still had control over Western Europe and were deep into their Russian campaign however the war in its totality was not progressing well for them. The Allies had won the Battle of Britain in 1940 and since that point faith in the R.A.F over the Luftwaffe was high. The campaign in Africa by this point was going well also, the Allies had won the Second battle of El Alamein in October 1942 and ended Axis hopes of holding Egypt. The Russian campaign was also showing results, the Battle of Stalingrad had been won and for the first time the Germans were moving backwards towards Berlin. The Soviets however were still taking very heavy losses. After German defeats in Africa and the Soviet Union it would have been the ideal time to assault Europe but for one massive issue, there were not nearly enough combat ready troops stationed in England at the beginning of 1943 for a full scale invasion. The disastrous Dieppe raid had shown that it would take a massive force to breach the entrenched German defences. The Dieppe raid called Operation Jubilee, was a limited assault attempting to ‘Secure green beach, destroy local objectives consisting of machine gun posts, R.D.F stations and light flack installations’2 and most importantly successfully cover the Allied withdrawal. The raid failed to achieve its offensive objectives against the area; it failed to destroy the defensive installations and never made it as far inland as the Aerodrome. It was repealed easily by the German force stationed at the location. This raid prompted Hitler to state ‘I know in the future I can rely on the commanders and soldiers of the Armed forces in the West’3. ‘The Dieppe operation of 1942 had showed the German high command that their forward troops on the continent were

2 3

Air 16/746 Jubilee Cover Plan Cab 146/474 German Report on Dieppe


capable of dealing unaided with a large scale raid’4. The ability of German forward troops to deal with any large raid would make it easier for the German high command to allocate troops to reinforce the Eastern Front. A plan was in fact desperately needed to keep the Germans in Western Europe, to ensure that they could not send a large number of troops to the Eastern Front. The plan devised by the London Controlling Section (LCS) and COSSAC to achieve this goal was codenamed Cockade. While the main aim of Cockade was to keep German forces in Western Europe it was not the only goal. Cockade was a massively complicated plan, if successfully executed however it would have greatly increased the odds for a successful invasion of Europe at a later date. There were various operations which existed under the purview of Cockade, such as Wadham and Tindall. Plan Wadham was an operation aimed at convincing the Germans of an imminent invasion by an American army stationed in Britain on Brittany. Plan Tindall was intended to make the Germans believe an assault was about to take place on Norway by a combined Anglo-Soviet force. The main deception plan under the purview of Cockade however and the specific plan which this thesis will focus on was plan STARKEY. This was the key operation under Cockade and was a deception plan aimed convincing the Germans the main invasion of Europe was to take place in the Pas-De-Calais area. The goal of STARKEY was to convince the Germans that a large invasion was being planned and would occur sometime from June – November 1943. This invasion would be aimed at the Pas-De-Calais area and would call upon all patriot armies in occupied countries for assistance. The two perceived outcomes of the German belief in the invasion were firstly


Air 37/232 Starkey Air Operation Analysis


that it would force the German Luftwaffe into a battle with the R.A.F, and secondly that it would cause the Germans to commit troops to the Western Front and relieve the Russians. As previously mentioned after the Battle of Britain belief in the abilities of the R.A.F were high and it was believed that if the Germans could be taunted into an air battle the Luftwaffe could be neutralised as an effective force. The cover plan for Starkey states as one of its key goals ‘destroying the maximum number of enemy aircrafts both in the air and on the ground’5. This was to be done in order to build up ‘sufficient air superiority over the Luftwaffe to facilitate subsequent operations against the Continent’6. This deception was to be achieved with ‘an elaborate camouflage and deception scheme extending over the whole summer’7. The deception scheme mentioned above was both broad and subtle. It consisted of many small activities that the Germans were to piece together and form a picture of an imminent large scale invasion. As Antony Cave Brown eloquently states ‘The weapons of Cockade would be those of feint, guile and menace, a troop movement here, ships sailing there, an air squadron in flight, and “accidental” whisper in the ether, a hint in the press, a radio broadcast, the dispatch of a spy, unrest in France’8. The British had realised that for Cockade to successfully work it could not be obvious. It had to seem, to the Germans, as though the Allies were trying to hide what they were doing. The more subtle the hint at invasion preparations the more credence it would lend to Cockade. There were many different cogs in the Cockade/Starkey machine that must be examined in order to form a complete picture of the operation. The main areas were physical deception, bombing, use of resistance in occupied countries and an amphibious feint.

5 6

Air 40/312 Starkey Air Cover Pan Air 40/312 Starkey Air Cover Plan 7 Cover plan: Cockade, WO 106/4223

Anthony Cave Brown, ‘Bodyguard of lies; the extraordinary story behind D-Day’ (Canada,2002), p 318.


The main element to the physical deception of STARKEY was the use of dummy landing craft to simulate a large invasion fleet in the Southeast of England. These dummy landing crafts were to be positioned in ports that would make it appear as though the PasDe-Calais area would be the landing point of the invasion. In order to make this seem like a viable invasion threat a large number of dummy crafts were needed. In a draft for plan Cockade issued to the Chiefs of Staff on 24 May 1943 the minimum requirement of landing crafts to lift one assault division necessary for an invasion were stated to be ‘3 Flotillas of Landing Craft Infantry (LCI) (S), 100 Landing Craft Assault (LCA), 2 Flotillas of LCI (L), 10 Flotillas of Landing Craft Tank (LCT) (S), 1 Flotillas of LCT (3) or (4), 28 LCT (2)’9. Added to this was to be a further 20 flotillas of self-propelled barges and any other landing crafts that could be made available to add authenticity to the plan. These crafts were for the most part to be replicated in dummy form to make it seem as though an invasion fleet was being organised. Instead of relying solely on dummy landing crafts however the plan also contained a paragraph requesting a consignment of actual landing crafts that could be taken away from active operations without causing harm to them. This paragraph also suggested that the building of landing crafts be undertaken in the Portsmouth area. This was later changed after the Rattle conference 28 June 1943 in which it was decided that Normandy would be the actual area of the assault. This dummy invasion force would be moved east to simulate an attack at the Pas-De-Calais area. The presence of these dummy landing crafts would be supported by dummy W/T (wireless traffic). This W/T would simulate the presence of a large force and be relatively simple to decrypt so that the Germans would decode them, and believe in the presence of a larger force than actually existed.


Cover plan: Cockade,, WO 106/4223.


The bombing campaign for Cockade was simple, the Pas-De-Calais area would be bombed heavily for a period of up to two weeks before the invasion was to take place. This bombing was to take place day and night non-stop and was to serve as further evidence of the invasion. This bombing campaign was to be supported by ‘the movement of large army formations to their concentration areas adjacent to the various ports in the South Eastern counties during the several weeks prior to September 8th 1943’10. On its final day, September 8 1943 the navy would also initiate an amphibious feint towards Pas-De-Calais ‘the sailing of the naval assault force and associated merchant shipping in such a manner as to deceive and convince the enemy that a large scale landing was imminent’11. This was the part of the operation which was to bring to Luftwaffe into an air battle with the R.A.F. It was believed that with a heavy bombing campaign several sorties between the Luftwaffe and Allied air force would already have commenced and the naval feint would draw out any reserves. The amphibious feint would be supported by an Allied air umbrella, the hope was that when the Luftwaffe attacked the Allied airpower would be able to cover its retreat and wipe out enemy aircrafts. The plan was for ‘An intensive program of air bombardment of enemy air field and other military and industrial targets in the Pas-de-Calais’12. In fact there were over ‘3000 air raids in 20 days in the Pas-De-Calais area’13 these raids, which mainly took place at night-time, however failed to elicit the large scale Luftwaffe response the Allies were looking for. In order for this phase of the operation to be successful a lot was being asked of the naval and air commanders. The naval commanders were being asked to ‘commit two batttleships’14 to an operation intended to draw out the Luftwaffe which

10 11

Air 40/312 Cockade Air Cover Plan Air 40/312 Cockade Air Plan 12 Air 40/312 Air cover plan 13 Anthony Cave Brown, ‘Bodyguard of lies; the extraordinary story behind D-Day’ (Canada,2002), p 323. 14 Air 20/4547 Analysis of Cockade plan


despite being engaged by the R.A.F still had the capacity to destroy the ships. Similarly the air force commanders were asked to supply the valuable heavy bombing aircrafts for day time operations which could very easily be shot down. This operation was not given a great deal of respect by Allied high command, most notably, Admiral Cunningham and General Esker. In letters to General Morgan, who was in charge of the planning of this operation, they denied him key equipment necessary for the success of the operation. ‘Admiral Cunningham was asked whether he could spare any of these ships, but had replied saying he was not yet in a position to give a definite answer. It was agreed that General Morgan should plan his operation on the assumption that no battleships would be available but that one or two monitors might be provided’15. ‘General Esker however was firmly opposed to the diversion of American heavy day bombers from the agreed plan. He suggested therefore that General Morgan should plan on the assumption that his night and medium bomber requirements could be met but there would be no heavy bombing by day’ 16. These letters show a great lack of belief in Cockade, with the Allies not willing to risk valuable equipment necessary for any hope at its success. In order for the Germans to believe an invasion in the Pas-De-Calais area was imminent there would have to exist the obvious pre-cursors to an invasion, the main one being heavy day bombing to soften up the beach-heads. Even the Germans noted in their evaluation of the Dieppe raid; ‘The employment of the enemy airforce and their tactics were extraordinary’17. Extraordinary in that they did not have heavy bombing by day of the area prior to the raid and the German command were warned

15 16

WO 106/4223.Letters from Admiralty WO 106/4223 Cockade Cover Plan CAB 146/474 German Dieppe analysis


‘they will not try this again’18. ‘As frequently noted in later in the operation the opposition was greater when the heavy bombers (Fortresses) were employed’19. When the time came for the dummy invasion to take place it would not be believed if there was an absence of the most powerful battleships in the Allied fleet and an absence of heavy day bombers. ‘Without scale of day bomber effort approaching that for which general Morgan has asked, we shall lessen the deceptive value of the operation, fail to gain expertise against coast defences and may make naval bombardment impractical’20. The decision of the Allied air force and navy commanders to not show more faith in the operation would prove to be vital. The most potentially explosive device used in this plan was that of the patriot armies, resistance movements in German occupied countries. The positives of using these armies were again clear and obvious. In the event of a real invasion the Allies would have communicated with these resistance movements in order to synchronise their aggressive actions. In the case of Cockade this is exactly what they attempted to do. The resistance movements were instructed to carry out simple operations to confuse the Germans. These operations included things like printing a large amount of instructions, from about D-17 on, about how to use various small arms and ensure the Germans got their hands on some. These leaflets were written in such a way as to suggest arms accompanied these letters. Other methods for disruptions included openly airing Allied radio talks on how a civilian population can assist in times of war, forming recon squads, road and rail repair units, noting troop positions etc. The last method detailed was, as of D-7, to increase the number of coded message sent by a large amount in order to further create confusion. The script for
18 19

Cab 146/474 German Dieppe Analysis Air 40/312 Starkey Air Plan 20 Air 20/4547 Cockade analysis of plan


all these activities was to be approved by the Special Operations Executive. The idea was to obstruct and disrupt the war effort so the Germans would take it as another sign of an upcoming Allied invasion. It was however a thin line the Allies requested the resistance movements to walk. If their actions became too aggressive it would elicit a large response ‘the Axis might be precipitated into taking action against the resistance groups who, together with the civil population, might be subjected to very severe reprisals’21. If there was too violent or open a response from the resistance movements the Allies had given them just enough rope to hang themselves. As stated in the final draft of Cockade on July 8 1943, ‘a number of political warfare and subversive operations. These would have to be on a scale sufficient to disturb and confuse the enemy, but would be so devised as to not provoke pre-mature uprisings or to squander and stratagems or devices needed with a real invasion’22. These concerns were raised and indeed the final draft of plan Cockade laid out how to deal with the issue of the patriot army’s response to STARKEY. Firstly, in this draft, the problems this plan would cause to the resistance movements is addressed, ‘These operations will be taking pace on the eve of the most desperate winter of the war and will directed towards territories where expectation of early liberation is at present the main sustaining factor in resistance’23. It goes on to state that the Germans would be able to use this feint invasion as propaganda against the resistance movements, portraying it as a failed invasion thus weakening their already faltering morale. Although this may seem like a perfect reason not to go ahead with STARKEY, the Allies also planned ways to turn these

22 23

Air 20/4547 Meeting about patriot armies summary WO 106/4223 Cockade Cover Plan. WO 106/4223 Cockade Cover Plan.


factors against the Germans. The two techniques used by the Allies to prevent patriot armies from rising were, firstly, the patriot armies would receive strict instructions not to rise-up unless given direct instruction by the Allied command. Secondly information leaflets would be dropped to the patriot armies about D-7 informing them the upcoming operation was merely a rehearsal. This was seen to give the added bonus of ‘maintaining the confidence of the patriot in the accuracy of our instruction and in persuading them to pay strict regard to any future instructions’24. It was also seen as an important step to ensure that patriot armies were subject to the same disciplinary standards as the Allied command and this was communicated to them by special media and contact points throughout Western Europe. This would in short make the patriot armies feel like a legitimate army and an important wing of the Allied force. This would increase both their discipline and morale and make them a more effective force. If one massive mistake was made in the planning of Cockade it was in Section 10 (i) of the Cockade final draft. This stated that the B.B.C was to be used as an ‘unconscious agent, i.e. that it should react to the news and inspired leakages created by the forthcoming operations in a normal and uninformed way’25. Yet as Anthony Cave Brown states ‘most people with a radio set in Europe listened in each night to the calm, factual, forthright newscasts from London; and they invariably respected and obeyed what they were told’26. This clearly created a massive problem for the patriot armies. They were receiving two contradictory but in their minds equally reliable sources of information. The obvious step to fix this was to include on the dropped leaflets that the B.B.C as an unwitting agent in the

WO 106/4223 Cockade Cover Plan


WO 106/4223 Cockade Cover Plan. Anthony Cave Brown, ‘Bodyguard of lies; the extraordinary story behind D-Day’ (Canada,2002), p 320.


deception, this however was not done. Despite all the provisions listed above to protect the patriot armies from going overboard with sabotage during Cockade the action of the B.B.C mixed with the hatred for the Germans and desire to get revenge when they could caused the resistance movement to escalate. Reports of the actions of the saboteurs showed very clearly their escalation and diversion from the plan, ‘A bomb made of plastique killed 23 German officers in a Lille restaurant; saboteurs derailed a troop train in Dijon killing and wounding 250 soldiers’27. In response to these actions the German authorities initiated martial law. Now the actions of the resistance would be far more closely monitored and the lives of the common people hindered and made far more difficult. This not only made the jobs of the patriot armies more difficult but could have turned support from the civilian population not involved in the patriot armies against them. They and not the Germans could have been viewed as the instigators of the hardship caused by the implementation of martial law. Cockade itself is often viewed as a total failure. Its goals remained unachieved and on 12 November 1943 S.O.E declared that ‘the whole of Cockade is thus at an end’28. Terry Crowdy states of the feint intended to draw out the Luftwaffe ‘When the force was just ten miles outside Boulogne the ships stopped and waited for the German response. Nothing happened’29. One of the main goals of Cockade, to bring the Luftwaffe into a battle with the Allied air force, did not occur. While as previously stated the Allied air force launched over 3000 air raids in 20 days in the Pas-De-Calais area the Luftwaffe only engaged in ‘362



Anthony Cave Brown, ‘Bodyguard of lies; the extraordinary story behind D-Day’ (Canada,2002), p 323. WO 106/4223 Cockade Cover Plan.


Terry Crowdy, ‘Deceiving Hitler’ (United Kingdom,2008) p 224.


sorties’30. In France where the majority of the air battles took place, they were still minimal and disappointing compared to the expected result of an air battle which hopefully would have destroyed the Luftwaffe as an effective force. ‘The battle was left to anti-aircraft artillery defences, and while the 8th Air Force claimed 16 German fighters, The Allies lost 5 bombers and 2 fighters, with another 129 bombers suffering battle damage’31. This was seen as a massive loss for a deception operation that did not even bear fruit. The Germans had either seen right through the plan or simply not noticed that it was taking place. They did not have a large scale engagement with the Luftwaffe in France or at Pas-De-Calais and did not attack the invasion fleet with their bombers. Add to this the harsh reprisals imposed on resistance movements in occupied countries and the operation had not just failed to achieve its objectives but had damaged its relationship with the patriot armies. The mistakes made in this operation were clear, the changing of the objective halfway through the operation after the Rattle conference confused planners. A definite and achievable objective needed to be established from the beginning of the operation. While it was a good idea to draw the Luftwaffe into a favourable battle for the Allies the deception would have to be astonishingly good to convince the Germans to risk committing their full force which had suffered so many losses in 1940. Therefore another mistake made was not having an objective the Germans would find believable and be able to act upon in good consciousness. This deception operation also needed greater faith from all of the departments involved; the lack of daytime air bombing and heavy battleships eroded the plausibility of the operation. The patriot armies needed to be given a greater concern when it came to

30 31

Anthony Cave Brown, ‘Bodyguard of lies; the extraordinary story behind D-Day’ (Canada,2002), P 325. Anthony Cave Brown, ‘Bodyguard of lies; the extraordinary story behind D-Day’ (Canada,2002), P 325.


operational planning. Cockade however was not the total failure which most authors make it out to be. The actual bombing campaign was very successful, successful raids on Beaumont Le Roger and Tricqueville and a successful Marauder raid on Poix’32 were all very encouraging. Also some Aerodromes were successfully destroyed such as the one at Amiens which was put out of action33. The ability of the heavy bomber to penetrate deep behind enemy lines and destroy supply route and cut up transportation lines was shown to be very effective. An ‘adequate air-umbrella throughout D-Day over the naval assault force’34 was established and although it faced no resistance maintained a position to cover the assault force if necessary. It is plain to see that while the operation did not achieve its goals it was not in fact the total failure it is often portrayed to be. Too many authors, such as Anthony Brown and Thaddeus Holt, write off the operation without portraying that it did come with its share of successes. Its successes as well as its failures were examined in great detail after the war. The main contribution of this operation was as a stepping stone to the next major deception plan. Using the failures and successes of Cockade as a template the script for the greatest deception plan of all time could be written, the plan which would open the door to Fortress Europa, Operation Fortitude.

32 33

Air 40/312 Starkey Air report Air 40/312 Starkey Air report 34 Air 40/312 Starkey air report


Chapter 2 – Fortitude South With Cockade at an end and having not achieved its goal of convincing the Germans of an impending invasion of Europe something would have to be done to placate the Soviet Union. The Allies knew that the Soviet Union wanted the opening of a Second Front to draw reserves away from the Russian campaign. ‘The British military mission in Moscow had reported that in twenty-nine months of war, Russia’s casualties were approaching 7 million dead soldiers, over 10 million dead civilians, and about 12 million wounded. Much of her industry and agriculture was in ruins’35. At the Tehran conference, 22 November 1943, Stalin would demand commitment to operation Overlord, the invasion of Europe by the Allies. General Eisenhower was given command of the invasion and soon after was briefed on plan Bodyguard, a deception operation intended to mislead the Germans about the date and location of the D-Day invasion. This deception scheme would have two key components Fortitude North and Fortitude South. Fortitude North would be a deception plan aimed at convincing the Germans of a landing in Scandinavia to force them to divert troops from the Eastern campaign. The goal of Fortitude South, which will be the focus of this chapter, was to convince the Germans that the invasion of Europe would come from the Pas-De-Calais region and as such divert troops away from the real landing point, Normandy. Fortitude South was an immensely complicated plan broken up into a multitude of smaller operations the most important of these being plans Quicksilver 1-6. Fortitude differed from Cockade in a number of very important areas with the key difference being the risk involved. Cockade was a feint invasion, it would not be risking the lives of an actual invasion force. It was, in essence, minimal risk. Fortitude however was a mask for the actual invasion and although contingency plans, such as Case 1, which provided for the possibility of a failure of the D-Day

Anthony Cave Brown, ‘Bodyguard of lies; the extraordinary story behind D-Day’ (Canada,2002), p 383.


invasion were in place, Overlord still remained an all or nothing assault. If it failed the Allies believed they would not be able to mount any other serious offensive until at the earliest ‘Spring of 1945’36 and depending on casualties this could be a very optimistic figure. Before Fortitude can be examined the notional plan must first be outlined. This was the plan that would be sold to the German, what the Allies needed them to believe. The single sentence that sums up the notional plan of Fortitude is ‘the main Allied assault is to be made against the Pas-De-Calais area’37. All other elements of this plan were implemented to achieve this goal. This plan was meant to make the Germans believe that the Neptune assault was simply a diversionary attack to draw troops away from the Pas-De-Calais region. This plan would be achieved with the implementation of plans Quicksilver 1-6. Quicksilver 1 was perhaps the most important of the elements to the Fortitude plan as it dealt with the formation of the notional First United States Army Group or FUSAG. This army group would consist of both actual and notional units and would be the force that would, in the Germans eyes, be assaulting the Pas-De-Calais. Through the use of special means, specifically the fictitious spy network created by GARBO and the work done by BRUTUS the FUSAG order of battle would find its way into the hands of the Germans. In the national archives file CAB 154/65 there are hundreds of extracts of the messages sent by GARBO, BRUTUS and others regarding troop placement and movements in Britain in order to bring FUSAG to life. GARBO had created a fictitious spy network of agents identified in his transmissions by numbers. While none of these agents actually existed he was able to convince the Germans that each agent was able to supply different sources of information which allowed GARBO to form the notional order of battle for FUSAG. Perhaps however the greatest if, as is often argued

36 37

WO 205/173 Case 1 details WO 205/173 Fortitude outline


unintentionally so, move of Fortitude was to place General George Patton in command of FUSAG. While the official story was that Patton was chosen in the place of General Bradley as commander of FUSAG as General Bradley’s First U.S army as to appear in the Normandy Bridgehead ‘and as Third U.S army formed part of the “build-up”, Patton could be retained in his notional role for a longer period’38. It is often posited however that Patton was given the command to keep him out of the way, after various incidents one involving him striking a shell-shocked soldier and another where he failed to recognise the Russian role in the war and his comments found their way to newspaper headlines around the world, he had fallen out of favour with the American people. This however could have been simply a ruse to offer an explanation as to why General Patton was not leading the first assault. It is a mark of the plausibility of the deception that even today one cannot be fully sure of the motives. In either case this proved to be a great appointment as the Germans believed that Patton being such a decorated and recognised officer would be leading the actual invasion force and as such this led great credence to notional FUSAG formation. The invasion by FUSAG would be led by the 1st Canadian Army consisting of one Canadian armoured division and infantry division (2nd Can Inf, 4th Can Arm) and three U.S infantry divisions (79th, 28th and 83th Inf), this would then be supported by a follow up force the 3rd U.S Army. This would consist of two infantry divisions (80th, 35th Inf) and four armoured divisions (4th, 5th, 6th, 7th Arm) all U.S forces. If the Germans believed that the British had a force of this size in reserve they would most definitely believe in the possibility of Normandy being a diversionary operation. Quicksilver 2 was to deal with wireless deception operations. The goal was to make lightly secured broadcasts that could be collected and decoded by the German ‘Y’ that

WO 219/2226 FUSAG Leadership Changes


would imply training exercises and movements of a large force, FUSAG, in South-East England. The Allies realised from interviewing General Jodl, Chief of the Operations Staff of the German OKW during the war, ‘It was clear as was always anticipated, that the Germans were reading the small ship code, which was intentionally simple, giving only a small degree of security by delay before the messages were read’39. Appendix B of the Fortitude plan file WO 205/173 shows in detail the working of the dummy wireless network for FUSAG. This network comprised of both Canadian and U.S radio operators and made use of both point to point radio transmissions and complicated radio nets. There was a massive effort put into the wireless deception operation in an after action report for plan Fortitude ‘The m ain part of the deception plan for Fortitude was the disclosure by W/T and special means of the massing of troops in SE England, thereby threatening the Pas-De-Calais’40. The way in which these dummy messages were to be created was also immensely important to the operation as ‘if by any reason or inaccuracy or carelessness, the enemy is able to differentiate between the live and the dummy traffic, the value of the dummy traffic is lost’41. The text for dummy messages that were to be sent had to be approved and each one ‘will be identified by the insertion of the word “dummy” at some point within the first twenty groups but not in the first group. Dummy should not be set of from the rest of the text in any other ay than normal spacing and will never be sent in clear text’42. The other rules set aside for the use of dummy signals were more obvious such as, maintaining a logical relationship between origin, content and time of the transmissions sent, the dummy message were to conform to the same structure of the actual messages and they were not to be needlessly long and complex. W/T was given a great deal of attention by the planners
39 40

KV 2/247 General Jodl interview KV 2/247 General Jodl interview 41 WO 219/2236 Fortitude W/T 42 WO 219/2236 Fortitude W/T


of Fortitude and it was a sign of how important it was judged to be to the success of the plan that it made the second point behind the formation of FUSAG in the Quicksilver order. Quicksilver 3 was to deal with the creation of the dummy landing fleet. This was mostly a physical deception operation but a good deal of dummy W/T was also necessary to help cement the illusion. Dummy landing crafts known as Big Bobs were built in South Eastern England spread out between harbours at Yarmouth, Lowestoft, river Deben, river Orwell, Dover and Folkstone. The Mulberry harbours that were used in the Normandy landing were also constructed in Dungeness Bay to ‘help plan Fortitude by indicating a threat to the Pas De-Calais’43. The charts below detail the layout of Big Bobs in South East England and the total number of dummy landing crafts created by the time of the Normandy invasion. Approx. Number of Place and Area Yarmouth / Berydon Water Lowestoft / Harbour Waldring / R.Deben Wolverstone Carthouse / R. Orwell Dover / Dover Harbour Folkstone / Folkstone Harbour Total, Big Bob (Rigid)

Crafts 50 20 66

70 46 18 270

43 44

WO 219/2237 Notes on Fortitude WO 205/173 Fortitude Plan


Type of Dummy Craft Big Bob Mark II (Rigid) Big Bob Mark V (Rigid) Big Bob Mark V (Inflatible) Wetbobs (Rigid) Wetbobs (Inflatible) Total (Rigid) (BigBobs) Total (Inflatible) (BigBobs)

Number 150 165

50 150 145 315


As is clear from the number of Big Bobs in operation they were an integral part of the deception operation. The dummy crafts and W/T go hand in hand, ‘Wireless traffic proportionate to the number of craft will be simulated in the mooring areas’46. The Germans would not just be fooled by what they decoded but also by what they saw, the treat of an invasion force in South East England seemed very real indeed. Quicksilver 4 dealt with the air plan, as previously stated this plan was the allimportant area of Cockade and indeed was also a key element of the plan for Fortitude however with different goals. While Cockade sought an air battle with the Luftwaffe Fortitude was more focused on heavy large scale bombing by day and night in the Pas-DeCalais area. This is where the difference of operation faith between Cockade and Fortitude really becomes clear. Cockade was denied heavy day bombers. It was considered too high a
45 46

WO 219/5187 Fortitude South analysis WO 205/173 Fortitude Plan


risk for a mere deception operation. Fortitude was not only given heavy day bombers but, as the chart below shows, the quantity of bombs dropped in the Pas-De-Calais area both by day and night far exceeded those dropped on Normandy.

60% 50% 40% 30%

Bombing commparison Fortitude/Neptune

D -3

10% 0% % Force employed for % applied to Fortitude % applied to Neptune all tasks

D -2
D -1


With the exception of D-1 in which the number of bombs dropped on each area was even, in the build up to the Normandy invasion a much larger quantity of bombs was dropped on the Pas-De-Calais to keep alive the idea that Normandy was merely a deception. Quicksilver 5 and 6 were minor parts of the plan. Quicksilver 5 stated that there would be an increase in all activity around Dover. It would seem as though there was a constant amount of travelling taking place in the area, there would be an erection of W/T towers and constant reports of an imminent embarkation. Quicksilver 6 was to deal with dummy lighting in South East England. There installations would give the appearance of vehicle lights, beach lights and serve to silhouette the dummy landing crafts.


WO 219/2224 Fortitude South II Analysis


The use of the patriot armies for plan Fortitude was also very different from that of Cockade. Cockade was simply a feint operation meaning any large scale resistance could be met with force and crushed with no hope of an Allied force arriving for assistance. For Fortitude however this was not the case. The main planned use for resistance forces in France was to ‘do everything in their power to assist in the delaying of such reinforcements’48. The planners of Fortitude knew their deception would not last forever and were fearful of the Germans discovering it quickly and sending a huge number of troops to assault the Normandy bridgehead. As such resistance groups were instructed to interrupt telecommunications and disrupt transport with minor assaults on convoys. Their job was also to prepare to assist the Allies upon landing by stockpiling weapons and ammunition and keeping detailed records of troop movements, weapon positions etc. It was made very clear however that ‘the resistance groups shall be launched into action only at a time when they can be assured that the allies are about to land and intend to stay ashore and to advance’49. As a part of Fortitude South they would have a key role in turning their local uprisings into national uprisings. To achieve this they would be well equipped by the Allies who had sent in ‘over ten thousand sten guns, together with ammunition, grenades, explosives, etc’50. German perceptions about the possible landing place of an Allied invasion are discussed in the file KV 4/247 which is a report on an interview with General Jodl. The report shows that the German believed that the location of the invasion would be ‘(i) in the neighbourhood of a least one good harbour, (ii) Not on cliffs, (iii) in deep water without any reefs or shallows’51. Calais would be the perfect location fitting these requirements and was

48 49

WO 219/2213 Fortitude South Resistance analysis WO 219/2213 Fortitude South Resistance analysis 50 WO 219/2213 Fortitude South Resistance analysis 51 KV 4/247 General Jodl interview


also the site of the German V-Rockets which the Germans believed the Allies would want to destroy quickly. While these rockets were perhaps not as destructive as the Germans had hoped they were capable of constantly firing on the South-East of England. Therefore even if they weren’t as destructive as the Germans had hoped they would still damage morale and inflict casualties and as such would be considered a prime target. This made Calais the perfect deception area as the Germans would need little convincing that the attack would come there. They also believed that the time of the invasion would be clam weather, a rising tide and full moon. The deception played upon German perception beautifully ‘in point of fact, the Allies commenced the landing in Normandy at full moon, away from large harbours, and landed at some points of sheer cliff, and in water stated by German Naval experts to be impassable by reason of underwater reefs or strong currents; in a strong wind (5-6 mph) with low cloud ceiling and a rough sea. The first waves went ashore at lowest ebb’52. The Allied has succeeded in creating an invasion plan which the Germans believed was the exact opposite of what would occur. To deceive the Germans so totally about the point of the actual invasion was a truly remarkable piece of work by the Allies. Fortitude differed from Cockade in a number of key areas. Fortitude had a more defined and obtainable objective. Cockade hoped to convince the Germans of an incoming invasion in an attempt to draw the Luftwaffe into combat and to draw reserves away from the Eastern Front. These goals were not so easily attainable, even if the Germans had engaged the Luftwaffe upon realisation that it was simply a feint invasion they could have retreated without very heavy losses, also once it had been discovered to be a feint the Germans could have once again sent troops to the Eastern campaign. Fortitude however was allowing the Germans to believe that the Allied invasion would take place, although

KV 4/247 General Jodl interview


Normandy wasn’t revealed as the location, they knew an invasion was incoming. The real genius of the Fortitude deception was getting the Germans to ignore that invasion and focus on what they believed would be the eventual real invasion. This goal was much easier to achieve as it was playing into German preconceived notions. The level of faith placed in the operations also differed greatly as has already been discussed. Being that Fortitude was the cover for the actual invasion the resources allotted to it were far greater. The bombing chart alone, when compared to the fact that no heavy day bomber runs were allowed in Cockade, shows the difference in operation priority. More so than this however, Fortitude had the benefit of learning from the mistakes and limitations of Cockade. Cockade had shown that long range heavy bombers would provoke a German response, thus, it could be reasoned that a consistent threat in one area by heavy long range bombers would help establish a viable threat of invasion in that area. Where Cockade had failed to achieve this threat Fortitude succeeded. Cockade also recognised that the patriot armies could play a role in an invasion; however they misused this resource as there was not to be an actual invasion. Fortitude however was able to use them in a way that would benefit the operation and increase the chances of a successful invasion. The greatest difference however was that while Cockade failed to achieve its objectives, Fortitude was a great success. The Germans did not expect landings in Normandy and were taken totally by surprise, ‘Special Means and German troop movements showed that this was completely successful’53. Eisenhower had asked that the German fourteenth army be distracted for two days. That was what he guessed he would need to build-up and maintain the bridgehead at Normandy. If the units, especially the SS Panzer division at Calais


KV 4/247 General Jodl interview


were to be re-routed immediately to Normandy the invasion would have been in serious jeopardy. As Thaddeus Holt states of the Allied belief in the possibility of the success of Fortitude, ‘The deceivers themselves reckoned that the Germans could not be fooled for more than ten days. Shaef G-2 had forecast that by D plus 7, six divisions would have been moved south from the Fifteenth Army to reinforce the Normandy battle-front’54. The goal of Fortitude had now changed; they had achieved the surprise they had set out to achieve with the invasion. Now this threat had to be continued for as long as possible, each day that the Germans maintained their belief in a Calais invasion could make the difference between the success and failure of the invasion. The goals of Fortitude needed to be updated it would continue to operate under the Codename Fortitude; however the operation to maintain the threat would be known as Fortitude South II. The question for the deceivers became, how long could they hold the German attention away from what was happening in Normandy? Just how successful could this operation turn out to be?


Thaddeus Holt, ‘The deceivers; Allied military deception in the second World War’ (New York, 2007) pp 578579.


Chapter 3 – Fortitude South II Allied troops were finally on French soil and thanks to Fortitude were not facing the full force of the German army. The deception plan had worked and the Germans were fully focused on the notional threat to the Pas-De-Calais. With everyday however the bridgehead at Normandy got larger and the attack seemed less and less likely to occur. Fortitude South had a limited life-span, eventually the deception would be discovered. The reason for this was due to the lack of faith even the planners had in the plan. The life-span expected for the plan was two days as far as Eisenhower was concerned ‘”Just keep the Fifteenth Army out of my hair for two days,” Eisenhower had said to Noel Wild in January. “That’s all I ask.” 55. Noone envisioned it succeeding past the ten days the LCS had hoped for and as such when it did and continued to do so they planners knew they would have to act quickly or the deception would most certainly fall apart. For the sake of the invasion the Germans had to keep believing in the eventual attack on Calais. This would prove to be a very difficult task for one key reason; the actual elements that made up parts of FUSAG as well as its leader, General Patton, would soon be involved in the campaign in France. If these units or Patton were spotted the deception plan would be in serious jeopardy. The Germans had been given the order of battle for FUSAG through W/T and special means. They knew the designation of each unit and would not be kept believing in FUSAG as an operable force if too many of its units were no longer at the notional embarkation ground in South East England. Hitler himself it seemed was beginning already to see though the mists of Fortitude to the truth ‘’On June 30, Hitler had held a major conference at the Strub Barracks at Berchtesgaden to


Thaddeus Holt, ‘The deceivers; Allied military deception in the second World War’ (New York, 2007) pp 578579.


plan the long-delayed armoured counteroffensive in Normandy’56. If the armoured units guarding the V1 rocket sites at Calais were moved against the Normandy bridgehead the entire operation could have been in serious jeopardy. Thus the goal of Fortitude South II was to continue the use of special means and W/T to create a cover story for the movement of units out of FUSAG. For each unit moved to the bridgehead a unit would have to replace it in South East England if the threat was to remain credible. More so than this however the issue of command of this new Army Group would have to be addressed. As mentioned before placing General Patton in command of FUSAG had been a stroke of genius as the Germans believed he would be the man to lead the eventual invasion of Europe. Having him appear at the bridgehead in France would be disastrous unless he was replaced by someone reputable as the commander of FUSAG. Also in the works for the Allies were major British and American offensives codenamed Goodwood and Cobra. These offensives were intended to break the German lines at Caen and St. Lo. As such in order to avoid the Germans receiving reinforcements to these areas the threat of FUSAG would still have to remain ever present in the German psyche and keep the High Command anxious enough to retain these units in Calais. This operation differed vastly from both Cockade and Fortitude South. Cockade was a feint invasion, Fortitude a cover for the real invasion however South II was something entirely different, its goal was to cover the troops already embarked by keeping the Germans pinned in Calais a continuation of Fortitude yes, but it would require far quicker thinking to make the Germans believe the rapid changes that were occurring within FUSAG were all part of the plan. These were the issues faced by the American Colonel Harris who was placed in change of the deception operation, this would mark the only of the three plans discussed to be under American control. The planners faced immense difficultly with

Anthony Cave Brown, ‘Bodyguard of lies; the extraordinary story behind D-Day’ (Canada,2002), p 733.


South II the invasion was already taking place they would have to act fast if they had any hope at all of keeping up the deception. Fortitude South II began in earnest on 14 June 1944, eight days after the D-Day landings at Normandy. This plan was implemented almost out of surprise. No-one had expected that after eight days in France the Germans would still believe in a credible threat against Calais. ‘It was not foreseen that the Pas-De-Calais threat could be maintained for the length of time as was actually the case’57. The plan became a matter of just seeing how long they could fool the Germans. The final draft of the plan was not even finished until 4 July 1944 or almost a full month after the Normandy landings. Due to this time lag between the landings and the formation of the plan it really is amazin g the threat remained credible. ‘The threat has been maintained by considerable wireless activity, as well as the display of some 250 LCTs in the harbours and estuaries of South East England’58. So far the plan had exceeded expectations however things were beginning to fall apart. ‘Gen Eisenhower has already been forced re-enforce 21st Army Group with both Canadian and American forces from FUSAG’59. These forces would be showing up at the bridgehead and as such the decision was made that FUSAG would keep its title but the Germans would be led to believe its units were being changed in light of the situation in Normandy. The re-enforcing of the Army in Normandy may be viewed as a dead give-away that Calais would not be happening however it was not viewed as such. After Dieppe as previously mentioned Hitler had stated ‘I know that in the future I can rely on the Commanders and soldiers of the armed forces in the West’60. The necessary reinforcement of the Normandy campaign could be viewed as

57 58

WO 219/2226 leadership of FUSAG document WO 219/2224 Fortitude South II plan 59 WO 219/2224 Fortitude South II plan 60 CAB 146/474 German Dieppe Analysis


Hitler thinking he was correct in that his armies were doing their job until they had to deal with the real invasion. The notional story which would be sold to the Germans regarding the re-designation of the units of FUSAG was that ‘It is necessary for an American Army group to be formed which shall the control of the American forces in the 21st Army Group. Gen. Eisenhower has therefore instructed Gen. Bradley to form headquarters 12th U.S Army Group and given him the authority to call upon the resources of the First U.S Army Group to assist him in the quick formation of his new headquarters’61. This was the heart of the notional story, only if needed certain units could be transferred to strengthen the newly formed full U.S Army Group under General Bradley however FUSAG would still exist and be reinforced with fresh troops and units from America. It would also take reinforcements from the notional armies of Fortitude North, the other Fortitude deception plan to draw German reserves to Scandinavia had essentially failed and as such the notional units were re-designated to FUSAG. The order of battle for FUSAG had changed dramatically, by 4 July 1944 FUSAG no longer included any of the 1t Canadian Army instead it as made up of the 2nd BR Corps consisting of 35 Inf. Div. (notional), 58 Inf. Div. (actual) and 2 BR Airborne Div. (actual). The 3 U.S Army still remained but was now almost an entirely notional force; it contained XXXVI Corps (actual) consisting of 80 Inf. Div. (notional), 7th Air Div. (notional) and 50 Inf. Div. (actual). It also contained the XX Corps an entirely notional force consisting of 4 Air Div. 5 Air Div. and 6 Air Div. (all notional). Seven out of the nine divisions which made up the new order of battle for FUSAG were therefore notional and yet due to W/T and Special Means they managed to maintain the threat to the Pas-De-Calais.


WO 219/2224 Section 9, Final Draft Fortitude South II


With the issue of unit re-designation solved, the problem of command of FUSAG had also to be addressed. As has been stated the command of FUSAG was a tricky issue. Patton would be appearing at the bridgehead and FUSAG would be left leaderless, the only way it could be believed that Patton would be replaced as the commander of the eventual invasion of Europe was to demote him. The official reason for his demotion would be that due to a series of indiscretions he was not fit to lead the invasion. This story would be the easiest for the German to believe as there had already been a great deal of fuss raised over his past indiscretions. The commander to replace General Patton would have to be believable as, in the German view, he would be leading the main assault against Europe. It was finally decided that General McNair a highly respected U.S General would serve as Patton’s replacement when Patton went to the bridgehead. Described by Antony ca ve Brown as ‘a military establishment figure of power and influence who had built the American army from a tiny group of professionals into an immense machine of 10 million men in just over two years’62, it is clear to see how a man of this status could lead the invasion of Europe. Upon General McNair’s arrival at the bridgehead on 25 July 1944 however he was killed by friendly fire and as such FUSAG was left without a viable commander. ‘It was considered improbable that another officer of General McNair’s status was available in the U.S to replace him and it was considered that the best that could be done would be to appoint General Simpson, commanding General of the Ninth Army forming in England to the post’ 63. This was however not really a viable option for FUSAG to retain its credibility. General Simpson did not have the experience or status of either Patton or McNair. As such Gen Eisenhower was left with the decision to either attempt to continue Fortitude with Simpson and possible end the deception or place even more faith in the operation and appoint a
62 63

Anthony Cave Brown, ‘Bodyguard of lies; the extraordinary story behind D-Day’ (Canada,2002), p 737 WO 219/2226 Leadership of FUSAG document


commander who would be beneficial in the French campaign. The latter option was chosen and due to the huge dividends Fortitude was paying it was decided to replace Simpson with the more decorated General DeWitt. Ultimately ‘the tragedy of General McNair’s death was in fact to be one of the biggest factors in substantiating the prolonged threat to the Pas-DeCalais’64.If General McNair had lived and an invasion had not taken place either immediately at the end of July or right at the beginning of August 1944 the Germans may have seen through the ruse, however in taking the time to find another commander of FUSAG the threat remained. The other main aspects of Fortitude South II deception were generally speaking the same as implemented by its predecessor Fortitude South. The operation made use of W/T to both place the new formation of FUSAG with the units and to maintain the constant threat of invasion against the Pas-De-Calais. This was done in the same manner as Fortitude the patrolling of units, conducting of amphibious operations that could hint at invasion practice and ominous periods of total radio silence which could suggest an imminent invasion. Maintaining this W/T in the days after D-Day had in fact been the only way in which this threat remained credible. W/T was also brought down totally on some occasions such as 6-7 July, the days in which it was brought down were days when the weather conditions would be favourable to an invasion. The use of continuous day and night bombing was also a key aspect to maintaining the threat against the region. On July 7-8 the day after the wireless network was brought down the Allies launched a massive air raid on Calais, ‘Heavy air attacks about daybreak carried out by 2000 bombers accompanied by hundreds of fighter escorts added to and emphasized the scale of the threat’65. As this

64 65

WO 219/2226 Leadership FUSAG document Anthony Cave Brown, ‘Bodyguard of lies; the extraordinary story behind D-Day’ (Canada,2002), p 733.


thesis has stated for Cockade and Fortitude South continuous bombing was a total necessity to a credible invasion threat. After Dieppe the Germans simply did not believe the Allies would attempt an invasion without a bombardment of both coastal defences and rear supply lines. Special means were also heavily relied on especially to explain leadership changes, while unit changes could be relayed through W/T leadership changes required the use of Brutus and Garbo66. ‘Brutus reported that the “milking” of FUSAG had caused a severe row between Eisenhower and Patton and that Patton had, in consequence, “been displaced as Commander-in-Chief of FUSAG by another senior general, General McNair’67. Fortitude South II was as, if not more, successful than its predecessor. The final task facing the planners of Fortitude South II came in late September 1944. The Allies were well and truly entrenched in Europe and pushing the Germans back towards Berlin. By 24 September the Allies had reached the Southern part of the r. Rhine, the garrison at Calais would surrender on 30 September and victory was very clearly in sight. The problem facing the planners therefore was what to do with the notional units remaining in FUSAG. Since the threat against Calais was no longer necessary and there would be no point in keeping what the Germans believed to be a considerable force in South-East England the notional units would have to go somewhere. It was decided that the notional units would be transferred between army groups which could make use of them. ‘21 st Army Group asked for 2nd British Corps, while Twelfth Army Group applied, as a first instalment, for XXXVII Corps with under command the 25th U.S Armoured Division and the 59th U.S Infantry Division’68. The Germans were made aware of these troop movements of 2 nd British Corps by special means and W/T. The decision however to reallocate FUSAG units after
66 67

CAB 154/65 Spy Transcripts Anthony Cave Brown, ‘Bodyguard of lies; the extraordinary story behind D-Day’ (Canada,2002), p 738. 68 Roger Hesketh, ‘Fortitude, the D-Day deception campaign (New York, 2002) p 322.


British 2nd Corps was reversed and it was decided that the remaining formations would be made to simply vanish. Some of the units were transferred between Army Groups and simply never discussed from that point, a good example of this was XXXVII corps which ‘sailed from Southampton with the 25th Armoured and 59th Infantry Divisions at the end of September, apparently for France, but after that was never heard of again. Perhaps it was transferred to another theatre’69. Many of the other units which made up FUSAG were simply kept as reserve units until they were simply forgotten. The destruction of FUSAG was to be the last act of Fortitude South II and although it did not prove an easy task to redesignate or simply make an entire Army Group disappear the deceivers accomplished this task with the same skill and ingenuity they had shown thus far. While Fortitude South had the benefit of months of planning and organisation South II had to operate without warning and fulfil a very difficult and complicated task. Although it had the framework and infrastructure of the previous plan still in place it is a testament to the genius and ingenuity of those involved that the operation survived as long as it did. Hitler finally began moving troops from the Calais area to reinforce Normandy on 19 Aug 1944. Plan Fortitude South II and the entire deception operation were finally terminated on 25 August 1944. It had survived and thrived, deceiving the Germans longer than the two days Eisenhower had requested, longer than the ten days the planners at LCS had expected and lasted a full 74 days from D-Day until August 19 when troops were moved from the Calais area. Fortitude South II is a mere footnote in many of the big histories of the deception campaign, Holt seems to view it as a last gasp of Fortitude, saying it came ‘too late to affect events’70. What is missed here however is that without South II the deception

69 70

Roger Hesketh, ‘Fortitude, the D-Day deception campaign (New York, 2002) p 323 Thaddeus Holt, ‘The deceivers; Allied military deception in the second World War’ (New York, 2007) p 629.


of Fortitude would undoubtedly have been discovered far sooner. While it is arguable that after the period of ten days the Allies could have handled the troops from Calais there can be no doubt that the 74 day period was of great benefit to the invasion. Fortitude South II deserves to be more than a footnote in the great deception against Calais, the ability of the deceivers to hold German attention on Calais on short notice and with dwindling resources is more than commendable. Fortitude South II rounded off beautifully the deception operations that had gone before, Cockade had shown deceptions limitations and the pitfalls to avoid, Fortitude South had shown how over the long term with careful planning, W/T and special means a notional force could become very real. What had occurred with Fortitude South II however was a rapid version of this deception. With almost no time to plan it had avoided the pitfalls of Cockade, such as not continuing with the use of heavy day bombers and not using patriot armies in the Calais region, while making use of the positive lessons learned from Fortitude like W/T and special means. Fortitude South II was the perfect ending to the most successful deception operation of all time.


Deception is without a doubt one of the most valuable skills to have mastered in wartime. To convince your enemy that a total falsehood is the key to your plan makes it immeasurably easier to plan an effective actual attack. You can move enemy resources, focus their attention and have them commit their battle plan to a location that is of no consequence strategically to your plan of attack. While the ability to deceive your enemy on a grand scale is obviously immensely valuable it is also very difficult and like all skills requires patience, practice, trial and error to perfect. The difficultly of deceiving an enemy becomes compounded with the enemy running intelligence operations also, monitoring you as closely as possible, attempting at every turn to place spies into your ranks and predict your every move. Beneath the war of bullets and bombs there exists the intelligence war, the winner of which could gain a huge strategic advantage over the opponent. Operation Cockade was an early Allied attempt at mastering this skill. The Starkey element of Cockade proved to be a much more difficult operation than was originally hoped. Changing the planned location of the feint invasion after the Rattle conference did nothing to help the planners. This meant the operation lacked a definitive goal from the start. As has been discussed this would prove to be vital. The beginnings of this deception operation were focused at Normandy, the deceivers were forced to change the deception location and as such all of the deception operations run up to 28 June 1943 were not just unusable, they were counter-productive. It was the first time the British had used some of the more advanced deception techniques such as dummy W/T and decoy landing crafts. Despite this these elements of the operation were instigated with great skill and cunning. The amount of dummy landing crafts which the planners had decided would be required for


an invasion were constructed and massive amounts of W/T indicating the formation and movement of these units was produced. The W/T was not also simply random wireless traffic it consisted of messages that would accurately portray the movement of the various notional vessels if decrypted by the German ‘Y’. It was not just the quantity of messages therefore that was astonishing but also the detail which went into each message sent. It clearly shows that the Allies believed dummy W/T was the best route to deceiving the Germans. They also heavily used spies and it was during this operation that their spy network began to grow. As already mentioned however Starkey failed to achieve its goals. The pressure on the Eastern Front was not alleviated and the Luftwaffe remained as one of the many arms of the German army, albeit not a particularly strong one. Perhaps the biggest failure of Starkey was in its use of the patriot armies. As stated the armies received two conflicting and reliable sources of information, the information received from Allied intelligence sources and the information received from the B.B.C. These miscommunications lead to pre-mature uprisings and as such harsh reprisals by the Germans against the civilian populations of the occupied countries. However Starkey also achieved much, it began the deception against the Pas-De-Calais that would be rounded off with later deception plans. It pioneered the deception tactics of W/T, dummy crafts and began the spy network of Garbo, Brutus and Tate. All of these would prove to be vital in later operations. It also showed very clearly that for a deception operation to succeed it would need the support of each area of the military. The admiralty’s unwillingness to allow the use of battleships for the feint invasion meant that it lacked any authenticity. Similarly General Esker was not willing to commit heavy day bombers for use against Calais. This seriously depleted the viability of the deception


operation. It also showed that some deception points were unnecessary for example; decoy camps in England were proven to be useless as enemy fighter reconnaissance would not reach that far. Brown states that ‘Starkey had been a complete failure’71 however as has been stated this is too much of a generalisation. Starkey failed to achieve its goals but succeeded in showing COSSAC and the LCS what it would take for a grand deception operation to be successful. Starkey was a stepping stone for bigger and better things, without it the eventual success of Fortitude could be questioned. Fortitude South was deception par excellence. Its goals were achieved totally and it can very easily be argued that the D-Day landings succeeded in a large part because of it. It drew from the experiences of Cockade and expanded on them perfectly. The spy network, so young in Cockade, matured and became a force to be reckoned with. Garbo, Brutus and Tate to name but a few had the German military intelligence organisation, the Abwehr, eating out of their hands. Their transmissions to the Germans were an integral part of the plans success. The growth in the use of W/T signals to create and move about a fictional army was without a doubt pure genius. The knowledge that even one false transmission could lead to the Germans investigating them all and discovering the difference between the real and the notional was examined, dealt with and successfully avoided. It was these two assets, special means and W/T that created perhaps the greatest element of the Fortitude deception, FUSAG. The notional million man army which was poised and ready to launch a massive assault on Calais and exterminate the German V1 rocket program. This was where the use of W/T used in Starkey to simulate ship movement came into its own. Along with keeping up this deception the amount of W/T exploded as it now was also used to simulate the movement of an entire army group. This W/T in unison

Anthony Cave Brown, ‘Bodyguard of lies; the extraordinary story behind D-Day’ (Canada,2002), p 326.


with coded messages sent by the various spies created in the eyes of the German high command a considerable force in South-East England. This was of course the key to the entire deception plan which is evidenced by its inclusion as the first part of the Quicksilver plans. The second most important part of the operation would remain from Starkey the W/T deception. This shows how despite the failure of Starkey the methods used remained sound and viable sources of deception. The bombing campaign is an interesting case study in deception. Fortitude had asked for a larger allotment of bombers than Cockade including heavy day bombing raids and received them. Had Cockade been gifted with the same resources it is very possible it could have succeeded in its goals. The question must be asked of why? Why was Fortitude trusted and given so much and Cockade so little? There are many possible explanations for this. Maybe the Allies were too preoccupied with the invasion of Sicily to be able to share its resources? It could even be the case that the Allies simply did not want to invest in a feint operation that promised the Anglo/American side very little and could cost them a lot for the sake of a brief Soviet reprieve. The final and in all probability most likely explanation is that there was simply more riding on Fortitude as without some kind of deception about the D-day landing point the consequences could have been dire. It is, however, impossible to know for sure which of these reasons, if any, is the definitive reason for the faith placed in Fortitude. In either case this faith paid massive dividends. The constant bombing campaign and already discussed huge difference in the bombing of Normandy and Calais helped to lend a great deal of credence to the deception operation as a whole. The deception was a total success. The German high command believed totally in FUSAG and the impending notional assault on the Pas-De-Calais. When the Normandy campaign began Hitler chose not to reinforce the bridgehead with what would have been very valuable armoured units from the Pas-De-Calais. With these units it is

possible that the Allies would have never gained a solid foothold in Normandy and therefore the invasion would have failed. The faith placed in Fortitude South proved to be decisive. Fortitude South II was a continuation of the excellence displayed in Fortitude South and in fact without SOUTH II to continue the deception for as long as it had the glory showered on Fortitude may have been considerably decreased. The notable difference was of course that Fortitude South had months of planning whereas Fortitude South II had days. With the threat to Calais supposed to be carried on simply by what had already been done in Fortitude. This plan however was scrapped when the threat passed the two days of relief Eisenhower had asked for and the ten days the LCS planners had imagined. Asking LCS to come up with a new plan to keep the deception going as long as possible with no time to plan was a monumental task. This task was however, as was shown, preformed perfectly. With almost no time to prepare the LCS created a plan that could reinforce the Normandy bridgehead and still convince the Germans that there was a massive force left behind in South East England just waiting to invade Calais. The quick thinking and ingenuity this plan needed was incredible yet was executed wonderfully. It is true to say that there already existed a very solid groundwork created by Fortitude South. The German belief in FUSAG was total and the plan just had to continue to feed this belief. They could also depend on the tried and tested methods of deception learned from Cockade and Fortitude South such as, W/T and the spy network. This does not mean however that the plan was ineffectual or unnecessary. The greatest achievement of Fortitude South II was the creation of the new FUSAG. With the actual units which made up the notional FUSAG appearing at the Normandy bridgehead the Germans would figure out the deception in no time. The deceivers expertly used the special means network and W/T to create and move notional


units to South-East England to join the FUSAG order of battle. These units consisted of other notional units from the failed Fortitude North operation and notional units which had supposedly just arrived in England from America. The creation of the new FUSAG and the way in which the problem of leadership was addressed was still very resourceful and necessary for the Germans to continue in their belief in the eventual Calais invasion. Without Fortitude South II it is true that the Allies would have got the ten days they hoped for out of the plan but because of Fortitude South II they got so much more. The 74 day window created by Fortitude South II could perhaps be called needless to the success of the invasion however it is a guarantee that the Allies were immensely grateful for the time given to consolidate their position on the continent. It is possible that even with the ten day window created by Fortitude South it would not have been enough to ensure the success of the operation. Keeping German armour occupied away from the Normandy area no doubt added to the success of the invasion. The end of Fortitude South II was executed with equal excellence as Hesketh noted ‘It was not so easy to destroy imaginary formations as it had been to create them’72. Despite this the notional units comprising FUSAG were disbanded without the Germans figuring out they had never existed in the first place. This is truly remarkable when it is taken into account that the Germans had the notional order of battle for FUSAG and did not discover the deception when they could no longer pinpoint the location of an entire Army Group. As with every part of the South II deception the deceivers had done their job perfectly. We must then go back to where it all started, Winston Churchill declaring that “truth is so precious she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies”. The actions of the London Controlling Sector in the planning and implementation of the deception operations

Roger Hesketh, ‘Fortitude, the D-Day deception campaign (New York, 2002) p 323


against Calais proved Churchill to be totally correct. After the rocky start of Starkey the deception team cemented their place in history with Fortitude South and South II. Without the Calais deception operations it is easy to see the D-Day landings failing, which would undoubtedly have changed the face of Europe as we know it today. Deception was an integral part of the Second World War. It provided the Allies with an advantage at a moment when failure was not an option. The only question is will there ever be a deception so enormous, so complex, so difficult and as completely successful as the Allied deception against the Pas-De-Calais?


Primary Sources National Archives Kew Starkey Files: 1. ADM 179/ series 2. ADM 223/ series 3. Air 20/4547 4. Air 37/232 5. Air 40/312 6. AIR 42/ series 7. AIR 46/ series 8. AIR 51/ series 9. DEFE 2/565 10. HW 14/87 11. KV 2/ series 12. WO 106/2243 13. WO 219/1852 Fortitude South Files: 1. AIR 37/ series 2. AIR 51/259 3. ADM 179/489 4. CAB 79/ series 5. KV 2/ series


6. KV 4/427 7. WO 205/173 8. WO 219 series Fortitude South II Files: 1. CAB 154/65 2. KV 2/ series 3. WO 199/ series 4. WO 219/ series Dieppe Raid files: 1. AIR 16/ series 2. CAB 146/474 3. PREM 3/256 Primary Other 1. Hesketh, Roger, ‘Fortitude, the D-Day deception campaign’ (New York, 2002). 2. Masterman, J.C, ‘The double-cross system 1939-1945’ (Yale, 1972). Secondary Sources General Histories: 1. Chandler, David and Collins, James, ‘The D-Day encyclopaedia’ (New York, 1994). 2. Farago, Ladislas, ‘Patton, ordeal and triumph’ (London , 1966). 3. Jackson, W.G.F, ‘Overlord Normandy 1944’ (London 1978). 4. Keegan, John, ‘The Second World War’ (Brookmount House, 1989).

5. Michie, Allan and Allen, George, ‘The invasion of Europe – the story behind D-Day’ (London, 1965). 6. Overy, Richard, ‘Why the Allies won’ (London, 1995). Deception Texts: 1. Brown, Anthony, ‘Bodyguard of lies; the extraordinary story behind D-Day’ (Canada,2002). 2. Bennett, Ralph, ‘Ultra in the West, the Normandy campaign 1944-45’ (London, 1979). 3. Crowdy, Terry, ‘Deceiving Hitler’ (United Kingdom,2008). 4. Delmer, Sefton, ‘The counterfeit spy’ (London, 1974). 5. Holt, Thaddeus, ‘The deceivers; Allied military deception in the Second World War’ (New York,2007). 6. Masterman, J.C, ‘The double cross system 1939-1945’ (Yale University, 1972). 7. Rankin, Nicholas, ‘Churchill’s wizards, the British genius for deception 1914-1945’ (London, 2008). 8. Peis, Gunter, ‘The mirror of deception’ (London, 1978). 9. Smith, Michael, ‘The spying game, the secret history of British espionage’ (London, 2003). 10. West, Nigel, ‘MI5’ (London, 1983). 11. Winterbotham, F.W, ‘The Ultra secret’ (London, 1974).


Sponsor Documents

Or use your account on


Forgot your password?

Or register your new account on


Lost your password? Please enter your email address. You will receive a link to create a new password.

Back to log-in