The 23rd Headquarters Special Troops, Also Known as The Ghost Army

In World War II, the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops had a series of missions that were kept top secret for decades. They specialized in decoy operations, namely, fooling the Axis powers into thinking they knew what was going on when they didn't. We covered one aspect of the "Ghost Army's" activities, in constructing fake tanks, ships, and artillery to distract from the real troop movements in a previous post. But the Ghost Army involved a lot more.

While the artists in the unit built realistic but fake props for the enemy to see, 288 radio operators carried out communications in both English and in easily-cracked codes. The Germans who intercepted these transmissions sent reconnaissance to find the fake equipment. But that fake equipment would fool nobody without the sound designers who blasted recordings that sounded exactly like thousands of troops were on the way to battle. Some of the troops even impersonated officers to carry out these missions. As we head into Memorial Day, read about some of these decoy operations, the men who participated, and what happened to them after the war, at Find-a-Grave.  -Thanks, WTM!

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