Operation 'Fortitude' 1944


Book Reviewer
After a fruitless quick search is there anyone out there who knows anything about this operation that was a deception to hold back German Panzer divisions in the Pas de Calais region. Specifically the possible involvement of the RN, possibly ML's, in blasting out recordings of ships anchoring. The tale of the inflatable tanks and a/c is quite well known. A friend is sure that he heard a story once about loudspeakers being used.


Lantern Swinger
Recordings of aircraft engines were made, and were played over loud speakers... I'm not sure about the noise of ships anchoring though, but I would not rule it out.
The link below hopefully will direct you to STRATEGIC DECEPTION: OPERATION FORTITUDE by Lieutenant Colonel Michael J. Donovan United States Marine Corps, it's a PDF File. Open the file and scroll to page 10, there you will find a few details relating to the trickery that we used which helped make Operation Fortitude a success.
Note* This article was used for research/training purpose by the US Military and the information held within the pages is based on historical fact.


Hope this is of some help to you.

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Lantern Swinger
There was also RAF involvement on the day, with aircraft dropping chaff to produce the impression on radar of a huge armada advancing across the Channel.
My contribution. (A good read indeed. Scroll down a bit for Op Fortitude).



...and there's more.


Code names and information blackouts were just the start of the secrecy that cloaked the D-Day operation. The Allied forces fabricated ‘Operation Fortitude’, a deception strategy employed to try and confuse German troops about where and when they would attack. As part of the ruse the Allies leaked faked plans, sent bogus coded messages across the radio and set up diversionary camps.
To add to the illusion, early on D-Day morning “Ruperts” – dummies dressed in paratrooper uniforms complete with boots and helmets – were dropped in Normandy and the Pas-de-Calais. The dummies were equipped with recordings of gunfire, while the real troops supplied additional sound effects to create the illusion of a large scale airborne attack. This operation, code-named “Titanic,” was designed to distract the German military while the main forces landed further to the west.

(I'm rather enjoying this.)

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OP QUICKSILVER was part of OP FORTITUDE SOUTH and was created by David Strangeways, Chief of Deception at 21 Army Group. QUICKSILVER included BIGDRUM (Cotentin Peninsular), GLIMMER (Boulogne) and TAXABLE (Le Havre), which were all technical deception ops against German radar.
The MLs were tasked with towing in formation large blimps to which were attached magnetic reflectors, whilst the supporting air operations dropped Window. The a/c in particular had to fly very precise and advancing racetrack patterns to achieve the desired effect.

I would recommend 'The Deceivers' by Thaddeus Holt and 'The Intelligence and Deception of the D-Day Landings' by Jock Haswell for more info.

The ML work had its origins in the innovative work done by Dudley Clarke in the Middle East, who indoctrinated Douglas Fairbanks Junior, USN into the world of Deception.



War Hero
Book Reviewer
Some commentators put the credit for FORTITUDE squarely with the XX disinformation system, supported by Bletchley Park which was able to follow how well the Germans were taking the bait. The key thing is that we were telling Hitler what he wanted to hear, that Calais was the target, and that Norway was threatened and also the Atlantic coast of France, not trying to change his mind. Personally I believe that Admiral Carnaris*, head of the Abwehr military intelligence organisation, one of the cleverest men ever to wear a blue suit (but that didn't save him from Hitler's noose) saw through it but knew a successful invasion would bring the war to a quicker end before the whole of Germany was taken by the Russians.

As to the dummy tanks & LCs etc, there are some who say that although they were a very good idea at the time, in the event the German photo-recce failed so catastrophically due to the planes being shot down that the info about a (fake) army in Kent hardly registered. Also that the total volume of radio traffic from Britain was so vast that it virtually drowned out the significance of the fake traffic from the fake armies in Kent and Scotland.

* As a Lt, the German officer sent to negotiate for the Dresden when she was trapped by Glasgow and Kent at Juan Fernandez in 1915. Managed an extraordinary end run from internment in Chile right back to Germany.

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