Review of Deceiving Hitler – Double Cross and Deception in World War 2
By Terry Crowdy
Osprey Publishing (www.ospreypublishing.com)
RRP GBP £8.99
According to the ancient Chinese general Sun Tzu “All warfare is based on deception” and this book epitomises this principle. The Allies sought to deceive Hitler and his forces. To a large extent they succeeded and their successes are well presented in this volume. From dummy tanks, machines for creating artificial tank tracks to Human Intelligence this book describes them all.
The deceptions documented were so sophisticated that they are unlikely to be repeated on the same scale again. They were principally a British “invention” and occurred during critical phases of the war. These deceptions were so great that entire German divisions were held back in reserve or delayed in their arrival at vital battlefields. Hitler and his entire General Staff were duped by the British.
Human Intelligence (Humint) played a vital role in World War 2 and Britain’s island nation mentality help to uncover such spying exploits by the Axis. The UK was not an environment conducive to German spies. Worse still the German’s chief spy in Britain at the beginning of the war was also a double agent! Also, the British had cracked the code used by the Axis so they knew where new spies would be “inserted”.
The British used “turned” spies and kept them alive whilst the populace would have preferred the gallows for these enemy agents. Keeping them alive and feeding the Germans a mixture of false information spliced with some “truths” was a far more valuable use of them than execution.
This volume accounts the successes and tribulations of Britain’s secret services in the art of deceiving the enemy. It discusses many of the more well-known exploits like Major Martin (the dead officer carrying plans for an allied invasion of Greece – Operation Mincemeat) and Operation Copperhead in which actor M E Clifton James impersonated Field Marshal Montgomery as well as those projects which are seldom heard about.
These exploits of British intelligence make a fascinating read and beat by far any “spy” novel or film. They were true life events which are far more entertaining to recount than any fictitious story. The author’s research has been exceptional and the results of his work are both interesting and exciting. This volume is far better than any novel and comes highly commended.