Operation mincemeat: how a dead tramp fooled Hitler

History 11/01/20 Operation mincemeat: how a dead tramp fooled Hitler

In may 1943, the British conducted one of the strangest operations of world war II, in which the main role was destined to play a corpse. It resulted in the misinformation of the German leadership and the successful start of the European campaign of the allies.

fishing for a dead man

Even before the Second world war, British military intelligence, Basil Thomson suggested that the corpse dropped by parachute into the territory of the adversary state and provided misleading documents may become a good tool for solution of foreign policy objectives.
In August 1942 just before the battle of Alam El Halfa, the British first successfully applied the tactics of planting false information with the help of the corpse. The victim of the British military was previously placed in the exploded machine intelligence near the location of the 90th light infantry division Wehrmacht. The corpse provided a map that supposedly showed the location of British minefields. The Germans bought into a fake and has sent armored vehicles in areas of shifting sand, where to the delight of the British bogged down safely.

In September 1942, near the Spanish Cadiz crashed seaplane British Navy. Soon after the disaster washed ashore the body aboard an officer of the French intelligence service D. G. Marsilia who is discovered by the Spanish authorities. When it was a notebook, where even vague, but contained information about the plans of great Britain in North Africa.
later Intercepted by British intelligence of the German radio messages indicated that the contents of the notebook became known to the German leadership, but fortunately London to Berlin recordings did not believe, considering that the documents “were deliberately planted for disinformation”. However, in the United Kingdom made an important conclusion: the Spanish cooperated with the Germans, and it is you want to use.

based on the trick

Winston Churchill has long had plans to attack “soft underbelly” of Europe through Sicily or the Balkans. The first option would allow the allies to establish control over shipping in the Mediterranean and to prepare a bridgehead for the invasion of mainland Europe through Italy. Second – drove the German group into a trap: from the West the Anglo-American troops in the East – Soviet; he also was allowed to cut Germany from important sources of raw materials in the Balkans.
In January 1943 at the conference of the joint chiefs of staff and the UK in Casablanca it was decided to attack the Germans in Sicily and assign the landing no later than July of the current year. Sicily, and the Balkans for the Axis was an important strategic centre and without great losses on the seizure of these territories would not have to count.

in the Spring of 1943 Germany still kept under control бὀльшую part of Europe, and the allies had no choice but to resort to a war of espionage, to use all sorts of tricks and disinformation to keep out the enemy on the wrong track. Here and now in London and Washington decided to convince Berlin that they plan not to land in Sicily, and in Greece. For these purposes we have developed a unique operation under the code name of Mincemeat (“mincemeat”). Misinformation has decided to transfer using the already tried and tested method is through the body, which is going to throw for coast of Spain.

“Mincemeat swallowed”

the Contractor’s operations, i.e. the body, choose a long time was not necessary. The British security services more prudently in the autumn of 1942 was placed in glacier one Michael Glendora, unemployed drunkard and loser who took his own life with rat poison. So was born the British officer, major – Royal Marines, William Martin.

it Remained to prepare the agent for an important mission. He was given a document “classified”, which “testified” about the operation for youcage’s allies in Greece. Martin even found a bride talking about her photography, love letters and a receipt from a jewelry store for buying wedding rings attached to the corpse (the role of the bride was chosen the employee of the security Service MI5).

of Course, the agent “issued” a fake ID. What is most interesting, the photo belonged to a real employee of the British intelligence services Ronnie reed, who was surprisingly similar to profligate Glendora.

the Operation was carried out on the night of 30 April 1943. The body of “major William Martin” chained to the arm of the suitcase was transferred by the crew of the British submarine “Seraph” to the Spanish coast near the town of Huelva. Following this, the British appealed to the Spanish authorities asking for help to find the body of a very important person that was the victim of a plane crash in the territorial waters of Spain. To confirm the reliability of versions of the crash of a British aircraft in the “Times” has published an article about the death of an officer of the marine corps.

Spain as a location was chosen for a reason. Madrid officially remained neutral in the European conflict, but the Spanish land was overrun with German spies, as is well known in London. Moreover, the German agent in charge of the district of Huelva did not possess much imagination, but were the Executive, the meticulous officer who had connections among high-ranking officials of the Reich.

Hope British intelligence was justified. The Spaniards quickly found the body of “Martin” and because of the threat of rapid degradation in hot climates “officer” with proper honors hastily buried near Huelva. Things agent described and pomnili in the storage chamber. And it soon became known that “secret information” from the briefcase has become the property of the German generals. On the table lay Churchill encryption: “Mincemeat swallowed along with a sinker and a float.”
Hitler is surprisingly easy to believe in the fake: he was very much cherishl Balkans, rich in oil, coal and non-ferrous metals. He was not able to convince either Mussolini or the Grand Admiral Karl Doenitz, who insisted that the allies landed in Sicily. The Fuhrer was adamant.

To strengthen the defense of the Balkans had been sent one Panzer division from France, two armored divisions, presumably from Stalingrad, was to be ready at any moment to go after him. In addition, Greece was further translated seven infantry divisions of the Wehrmacht in Yugoslavia – ten. But most importantly, to the Greek Islands from Sicily were transferred to the German torpedo boat that only played into the hands of the allies.

on 9 July began the allied landing in Sicily. The ratio of manpower was 400 thousand to 65 thousand not in favor of the Axis. By this time the German General staff saw through the Ruse, however, to carry out the redeployment, it was too late. By 17 August it was all over – Sicily belonged to the allies. According to the calculations of British, in the event of the failure of “operation mincemeat” they are already in the first week of fighting would have lost not less than 10 thousand killed and wounded. In the end, the loss amounted to only one seventh of that number.

Military historian John Latimer notes that the relative ease with which the Anglo-American troops occupied Sicily, is not solely the result of misinformation. Latimer calls and other factors – distrust of Hitler to Mussolini and the reluctance to risk German troops destined for Italy.

Taras Repin

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