Visual deception, spoof radio and the Ghost Army

You might think that social media and fake news is a recent thing but let me tell you a story that you have probably never heard.

During World War II, the Army created a ghost Army of inflatable tanks, jeeps, trucks, airplanes, cannons etc., That’s right, rubber inflatable artillery fakes. They even conducted fake parachute landings with dummy soldiers they would drop from airplanes. The unit was called the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops division and it consisted of 1100 men that would put on a “traveling road show” that was designed to fake the German army into believing the American troops were attacking one area when the real troops were attacking another.

I know this sounds almost implausible but it is very true. Google Ghost Army and click on one of the videos and you will see what I am talking about. The Army staged more than 20 battlefield deceptions during the war, and all of this was very classified for 50 years until the mid-90’s. Regarding spoof radio, the army recruited people with brains and talent because their mission was to mislead, deceive and befuddle the German Army. They would transmit radio chatter and Morse code and communicate with fake aircraft that by all standards, sounded real, but it was all fake.

So, during the war the German planes would fly over an area and see US troops and artillery build up and the Germans would move their troops to that area and get ready for battle. Only after the Germans would move their troops to an area would they find out that the whole thing was fake. Ha. Pretty ingenious, right?

So, the idea that social media and network news agencies invented spoofing and fake news, think again. The US used it to win the war in Europe against Germany and to save England and America. KT

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