"In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a Bodyguard of lies." - Winston Churchill
During the first half of 1944, the Americans and British commenced a massive buildup of men and resources in the United Kingdom, while Allied Supreme Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower and military brass planned the details of an enormous and complex amphibious invasion of Europe. The most obvious place for an invasion was just across the narrow English Channel, and the Germans had built coastal fortifications throughout France to protect against just such an invasion.
Cloaking the vastest amphibious landing in history in layers of shrouding misdirection represented an undertaking second only in ambitiousness to the grand seaborne invasion itself, yet with Operation Bodyguard, the Allies attempted precisely that task in regards to 1944's D-Day. Bodyguard would, if successful, confuse the Wehrmacht occupiers of France about the actual place where Operation Overlord would ultimately come ashore.
The plan was to trick the Germans into thinking the expected invasion would come in late summer 1944, and would be accompanied by an invasion in Norway, Greece, and elsewhere in Europe. The goal was to trick the Germans into defending areas away from the invasion, thus posing less threat to the success of the actual invasion, Operation Overlord. On an operational level it hoped to disguise the strength, timing and objectives of the invasion.
The success or failure of these planned misdirections would have deadly serious consequences for the men wading ashore through the Normandy surf in early summer of 1944. The difference in the number and deployment of German forces facing them could determine if they successfully crashed through the west wall of Hitler's "Festung Europa" ("Fortress Europe") or found their decimated, bleeding remnants hurled back in defeat into the sea.
©2016 Charles River Editors (P)2016 Charles River Editors