The Airedale & Wharfedale Family History Society met 7 November and Dr Phil Judkins presented his talk ‘Confusions Masterpiece’.
Numerous deceptions were put in place to ensure the success of the Allies’ D Day landings on 6 June 1944. Whilst the enemy anticipated a second front it was imperative that they did not know where or when this would happen. False information was intended to make Germany believe the attack would take place later and further east than actually planned. Scientist Bill Tutt successfully de-coded top-level Nazi communications so that the Allies could discern whether their false information had been taken seriously.
A number of double agents fed false information to the enemy. These remarkable individuals included: Popov (code name Tricycle), Chudoir (Bronx), Garcia (Garbo) and Johann Jebson (Artist) who was arrested and ultimately murdered by the Gestapo.
False plans regarding a second front ensured German divisions were spread far and wide, away from the actual planned invasion, code named Bodyguard. Fortitude Deceptions suggested the presence of a fictitious 4thArmy in Scotland and a planned invasion of Norway. Dummy oil depots and inflatable tanks were located near Dover to suggest an invasion of Calais (code name Rosebud). This option of crossing the shortest distance of the Channel was what Hitler believed to be the most likely scenario. Intriguing methods were invented by British radar scientists to replicate the positions of non-existent aircraft and ships in this area of the Channel. Rommel correctly assumed Normandy would be the intended target but his colleagues discounted this due to the absence of a port there. Meanwhile transportable Mulberry harbours were being constructed for this purpose.
Those who knew the correct invasion plans were referred to as Bigots but many leading figures including De Gaulle were kept in the dark. Not everything ran smoothly, D Day documents were returned by a London taxi driver after they had been left in his cab and the American practice invasion in Devon ended in tragic loss of life. In the event poor weather postponed D Day but ultimately the assault was successful mainly due to the absence of German reserves in Normandy. Stalin described it as the greatest military operation of all time.
The Society’s next meeting will take place 7.30pm Thursday 5 December at the Salem Church Hall, Burley when we shall be holding our general knowledge Christmas Prize Quiz. Members and non-members welcome.