Fortitude: The D-Day Deception Campaign

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9781585672943: Fortitude: The D-Day Deception Campaign

Behind the astonishing success of D-Day was the most sophisticated deception scheme ever devised.

The objective was to persuade the enemy that the long-awaited landings would take place in the Pas-de-Calais, and that any attack in Normandy would be nothing more than a diversionary feint that could be safely ignored. Hundreds of bogus agent reports were manufactured, an entire US Army Group was invented, false radio signals transmitted, and inflatable tanks, dummy bombers built of balsa wood and canvas landing craft were positioned where they could be photographed by the Luftwaffe. Each itemed an imminent amphibious assault from Dover, across the shortest stretch of the English Channel. Operation Fortitude was an extraordinary success. In this volume, the classified official history of the entire operation, written by Roger Hesketh as head of the team of D-Day deception specialists, has been declassified and released.

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About the Author:

Roger Hesketh, was director of the sub-section of the Fortitude operation that was devoted to spreading misinformation during World War II. Fortitude remained highly classified throughout his lifetime, and when he died in 1987 the names of the double agents who had participated in many operation still had not been disclosed.

From Publishers Weekly:

Written at war's end as an internal British government counterintelligence report (Hesketh died in 1987), the manuscript of this book was later used as the initially uncredited source for Sefton Delmer's bestselling novel The Counterfeit Spy in the early '70s. Its first full publication in England last year was met with reviews stressing its cultural importance; its release here makes it a rare prize for Stateside historians and buffs. As WWII picked up steam in Europe, military planners on both sides of the conflict recognized that the Allies would inevitably launch an amphibious attack on the coast of France; the only question was when and where. The Normandy landing, called Operation Overlord, is one of the legendary success stories of modern warfare. Less known are the enormous lengths to which Allied planners went to keep the details of the massive operation secret, and to put the Axis off the scent. Now, more than 50 years after the fact, comes Hesketh's firsthand account of the disguise, code-named Fortitude, orchestrated by Hesketh himself. Peopled with secret operatives and stocked with inflatable tanks, phony agent reports and the infamous and brilliantly conceived feint of a U.S. Army group that never existed, Hesketh's account beautifully and systematically illustrates how his force convinced Hitler that the Allied invasion would take place not at Normandy but at the Pas de Calais. Hesketh, who was a lawyer before the war and an MP after, writes with careful grace, but acronyms do crowd many pages. Some generalists will be overwhelmed, but this is a feast for literate strategy buffs of any war or conflict. 7 b&w photos, 15 maps, 12 charts. Military Book Club alternate selection. (Nov.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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