Deceiving Hitler, Terry Crowdy

Deceiving Hitler, Terry Crowdy

This interesting book looks at the British efforts to deceive the Germans during the Second World War, a key part of many battles, including most famously the D-Day landings and the battle of Normandy. I've read books on the D-Day deception campaign, books on the double cross system of controlled agents feeding information back to the Germans and the physical deception efforts (inflatable Sherman tanks, false trucks etc), but this is the first one I've read that covers all of these different strands in a single book. There is also far more coverage of early deception schemes than I've seen before, and in particular a fascinating section on the efforts made to discourage a German invasion in 1940-41 (focusing on exaggerating the strength of the British defences and demoralising the German troops).

One of the results of this is that the D-Day deception plans don't dominate as they often do (indeed they only get three chapters out of the eighteen). It also means that less successful deception plans are given their due space, amongst them the failed attempts to convince the Germans that an invasion of Europe might have taken place in 1944.

There are some very nice details here - one example being the fake water pipe that was dug before the start of the battle of El Alamein in an attempt convince the Germans that the Allies weren't quite ready to attack. This pipe is often mentioned, but I've not seen details before (it turns out the pipeline was meant to be buried, so each day a new stretch of trench was dug, and filled with fake pipe. Overnight that section was filled in and the pipe rescued for use in the next section).

This is a fascinating account of one of the most intriguing aspects of the Second World War, and one that brings together a number of strands that are often covered separately.

1 - Snow
2 - The Invasion Spies
3 - Burning Lies
4 - The System
5 - SnowFalls
6 - The 'Dicky' Period
7 - Spanish Intrigues
8 - 'A' Force
9 - The Controlling Officer
10 - El Alamein
11 - The Development of Agent Cases
12 - Mincemeat
13 - London Calling
14 - The Fortitude Plan
15 - By Special Means
16 - Vindication
17 - Mediterranean Swansong
18 - The Final Deceits

Author: Terry Crowdy
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 352
Publisher: Osprey
Year: 2013 edition of 2008 original

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