How one corpse turned the tide of World War II

(ORDO NEWS) — Deception is a real art on which any war is based. It was it that became the key to defeating Hitler in World War II, writes American Thinker. The author tells how British intelligence managed to deceive the Germans with the help of a corpse.

Deception is not a science, but an art. The unknown is very important here. You can’t win a battle twice in the same way. Cheating is a form of behavior that is present in all areas of life – in politics, economics, leisure, and in all countries, albeit to varying degrees.

It is said that when Russia seized the Crimea from the Ottoman Empire in 1783, Count Potemkin misled Catherine the Great by building facades of houses along her route that depicted inhabited villages. True or not, the phrase “Potemkin village” today means something that is designed to hide the absence of reality. Nazi Germany brought exemplary order to its Theresienstadt concentration camp in order to present it in a false light to the Red Cross leadership who arrived there. To impress visitors, Northern Ireland in 2013 displayed large photographs in the windows of Enniskillen closed shops showing prosperity and activity, even though bombs and violence were regularly detonated there in times of unrest and unrest. India has tested a nuclear bomb.

One amazing and successful example of political deception was the astounding covert British plot to convince the US to enter World War II. The British intelligence service MI6 began to circulate in the American media a large number of stories and broadcasts that put the United Kingdom in a favorable light. The main story was about the operation in Nazi-occupied France, according to which British soldiers parachuted down to the airfield, defeated the German occupiers, destroyed 30 aircraft, and then all returned safely to Britain, taking 40 German prisoners with them.

This story was fake from beginning to end, and was written by Canadian entrepreneur William Stephenson, who headed the MI6 branch in the United States. This fake news, as well as a later fake map and photo showing Adolf Hitler’s plans to take over South America, were intended to weaken the campaign of Charles Lindbergh and the more than a million members of the America First Committee, which fought against the entry of the United States into World War II. . The fake map depicted Hitler’s plan to create a new South America, divided into five new states, each under the authority of its Gauleiter. One of these states allegedly planned to include the Panama Canal. Thus, it turned out that Hitler intended to approach the southern border of the United States.

It was a political hoax, an attempt to change the mindset of President Franklin Roosevelt and the entire American population. But in history and in the present, military deception, which is also called misleading the enemy, is much more important. Politics is famous for its dirty tricks, attempts to harm the opponent, to carry out subversive actions against him, and also to spoil his image through lies, disinformation and espionage. The most common is the “October Surprise”, as they call the negative false information that is thrown on the eve of the elections, and the opponent does not have time to react.

It is interesting, and often even amusing, to recall some of the recent attempts at political deception in the United States. The most famous was the Watergate scandal in 1972 that destroyed President Richard Nixon. We are talking about the penetration of a group of Republicans into the building of the National Committee of the Democratic Party. In 2000, supporters of George W. Bush accused John McCain of having an illegitimate African-American daughter. Hillary Clinton’s headquarters in 2008 published photos of Barack Obama in an African outfit and declared that he was a Muslim.

Warlords and commanders have been actively using the art of deception since time immemorial. Here we can mention biblical stories, the Trojan horse, the ancient Sumerians, and the Hittites who deceived the pharaoh and the Egyptians in 1274 BC. Characteristic features are misinformation, psychological operations, unpredictable behavior, concealment, the use of decoys and distractions, false information that forces the enemy to draw wrong conclusions and change his plans. These factors should have an impact on the consciousness and beliefs of a person.

Any military leader is familiar with Sun Tzu’s treatise “The Art of War” and with its main theme: any war is based on deception. “Thus, having the ability to advance, we must seem unable to do so … being close, we must convince the enemy that we are far away. We must place baits and lure the enemy,” he said.

Misleading the enemy was the key to the Allied victory in World War II. It was extremely important to convince Hitler that the Allies would not attack in Normandy in 1944, so that the Germans would transfer personnel and equipment to places where the Allied forces were not going to attack. It was also necessary to make the Germans believe in the invasion of Norway, for which false designations of tanks and vehicles were used.

Another aspect of the military stratagem was the creation of a fictitious army group under the command of General George Patton in the south-east of England opposite the Pas de Calais. These fictitious troops feigned vigorous activity, conducting radio exchanges between fictitious units and subunits. German intelligence received false information and reports. In Africa, the skilled magician Jasper Maskelyne created a whole fake city by misleading German pilots,

The issue of misleading the enemy received wide publicity when the new film “Operation Minced Meat” was released in May 2022. This is a true story about a very remarkable special operation, during which a corpse with false documents was planted on the Germans.

This scheme has been used before. During the First World War, during the campaign in the Sinai Peninsula and Palestine in October 1917, the ploy with a soldier’s pack was used. A British cavalryman “accidentally” dropped a knapsack containing false plans for a British battle, and it fell into the hands of the Turks. This stratagem led the British to victory in the Battle of Beersheba and Gaza. In August 1942, a corpse with maps of British minefields was planted on the Germans, who used them to their own detriment.

Operation Minced Meat is a plot by the Allies to mislead the enemy about the time and place of the invasion of Europe in 1944. British intelligence came up with a plan to use the corpse to convince Hitler that the Allies would land in Greece and not in Sicily. The body was thrown into the sea off the coast of Spain. He had secret documents with him showing that Greece and Sardinia were the targets of the invasion, and Sicily would be used as a diversion. After a long search in the morgue for the homeless, they found a suitable corpse. It was an alcoholic tramp who died from rat poison. It was made into the British marine William Martin, dressed in accordance with the rank. He had in his pocket a letter with a photo of a non-existent fiancee, a check for an engagement ring he bought.

Major Martin’s body was carried to its destination aboard a submarine and thrown into the water a mile off the coast of Spain. Fishermen found him there. The found documents were read by the Spanish police, who handed them over to German intelligence.

Operation Mincemeat was a mouthwatering bait, and the enemy took it deep. Hitler believed that “the discovered Anglo-Saxon confirms the assumptions about the preparation of an offensive in Sardinia and the Peloponnese.” The Germans doubled their force in Sardinia and then sent additional forces to Greece.

The Allies landed in Sicily on July 9, 1943. The operation was a complete success within a month.

There are two interesting things about this operation. A junior officer and active participant in this deception, who apparently came up with the corpse trick, was James Bond creator Ian Fleming. The second moment is quite touching. Major Martin is buried in the Spanish city of Huelva, and the Jewish American Society has unveiled a monument to Major Martin in the London Borough of Hackney.


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