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During WW2, the allies used various forms of deception against its enemies, one of the most famous was Operation Fortitude which was a huge campaign to mislead the Germans about the invasion of France in the summer of 1944. The idea was to let the enemy think the allies would cross at the shortest crossing, by the Pas de Calais, instead of Normandy. So huge fields of inflatable and wooden armored vehicles and fakes airfields with fake planes were poured into southeast England and enemy aircraft were allowed to photograph them.

To make the information even more turned spies validated this information to their handlers. However to make this deception even more realistic, allied soldiers were "assigned" to phantom units. These were made up units or units that did exist but were not longer in use or needed. One example of this was the FUSAG, which was created to handle the D-Day landings consisting of the 1st Canadian Army, US 3rd Army, US 9th Army, US 14th Army, British 4th Army, and the 1st Allied Airborne Army, however it was no longer need, but since it actually was in use at one point it had credibility for a fake force. Allied troops would wear the patches of these units and went into town, bragging and boasting of the units reputation and capabilities. Even fake radio chatter was made between these units for the Germans to intercept. To put the icing on the cake, General Patton was placed in charge of the majority of the forces, further cementing Hitler's belief the landings would be at Pas de Calais. 

The patches below are but a few of the ones used. There were some for armored units and Air Force units as well. These are hard to find today, some patches were made in decent quantities, while some were made in miniscule amounts. There are many fakes on the market today. 

 

From left to right: 

First Row: 108th Airborne Division, 9th Airborne Division, 6th Airborne Division (copy), 21st Airborne Division, 18th Airborne Division, 135th Airborne Division

Second Row: 14th Infantry Division, 108th Infantry Division, 59th Infantry Division, 11th Infantry Division, 17th Infantry Division, 22nd Infantry Division

Third Row: 48th Infantry Division, 119th Infantry Division, 130th Infantry Division, 141st Infantry Division, 46th Infantry Division, 33rd Army Corps

Fourth Row: 55th Infantry Division, 1st US Army Group (FUSAG), 50th Infantry Division, 14th Army, 31st Army Corps, 157th Infantry Division

 

IMG_4758.JPG

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  • 3 weeks later...

Here are some images of inflatable vehicles used in Operation Fortitude, for the benefit of German Aerial Recon. 

c854d96061772b0ca8def855c7772d0a.jpg

Inflatable Tank.jpg

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