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Interesting takes on Operation Mincemeat

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  • Interesting takes on Operation Mincemeat

    Most WW2 buffs are familiar with Operation Mincemeat.

    Prior to the invasion of Sicily, British operatives obtained a body and created a fake military resume for the dead man. "Major Martin" carried a number of personal effects to add credibility, as well as sensitive (faked) documents purporting that future offensive ops in the Mediterranean would be aimed at Greece or Sardinia, rather than Sicily.

    The body was dumped at sea off the coat of German-friendly Spain, and picked up by Spanish fishermen. Abwehr intelligence got their hands on the documents, and the rest is history. Greece and Sardinia were reinforced, and the actual attack on Sicily was believed to be a feint.


    Now for the parts I did not know... apparently, the body they found (a vagrant) was poorly suited for the job, and they were worried it would not pass inspection. For decades, British authorities, including those involved, never deviated from the story that the body was that of vagrant. In 1996, amateur sleuthing identified it as that of Glyndwr Michael. But recently, there is evidence that the planted body was that of a vicitm of the horrendous (and hushed up) accidental sinking of the HMS Dasher, a U.S. built escort carrier.

    The Steeles claim that the Mincemeat body was John "Jack" Melville, 37, one of the dead sailors. They assert that Michael's corpse was acquired in January 1943, and would have suffered excessive decomposition by 30 April, even if refrigerated. They claim that freezing was not an option as it would have produced observable changes to the body, which contradicts Montagu's account. (Montagu mentions having to thaw the body's feet so that boots could be put on it.)
    I think the evidence is pretty strong that Mincemeat used an unfortunate sailor from the Dasher.

    But the serendipitous thing that resulted from Mincemeat was that the Germans, realizing that they had been scammed, thereafter viewed documents obtained in such a way with DEEP suspicion, including real D-day documents lost during training.

    Two days after the D-Day landings, the Germans discovered an abandoned landing craft washed up on the Vire estuary in Normandy, containing top secret documents detailing future military targets in the region. Hitler, believing this was a deception similar to Operation Mincemeat, ignored the documents, having already been convinced by numerous deceptions that the main invasion was still to come through the Pas de Calais.

    During Operation Market-Garden, the drive into the Netherlands in September 1944, a complete operations order with maps and graphics for the airborne phase of the invasion, which was not supposed to be brought with the invading troops, was inadvertently left behind on a transport glider. The operations order fell into German hands, but the Germans, convinced that this was another attempt at Mincemeat-style deception, actually deployed their forces contrary to the information before them.
    The entire episode is quite fascinating, IMO. It's nothing new. The Haversack Ruse is as old as the written word, but Mincemeat took it to a new level in terms of detail, and outcome. :)

  • #2
    Originally posted by Chogy View Post
    Now for the parts I did not know... apparently, the body they found (a vagrant) was poorly suited for the job, and they were worried it would not pass inspection. For decades, British authorities, including those involved, never deviated from the story that the body was that of vagrant. In 1996, amateur sleuthing identified it as that of Glyndwr Michael. But recently, there is evidence that the planted body was that of a vicitm of the horrendous (and hushed up) accidental sinking of the HMS Dasher, a U.S. built escort carrier.
    Chogy,
    Interesting theory but have you read http://www.amazon.com/Operation-Minc.../dp/0307453286
    “Never let yourself be persuaded that any one Great Man, any one leader, is necessary to the salvation of America. When America consists of one leader and 158 million followers, it will no longer be America.”
    ― Dwight D. Eisenhower

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    • #3
      In many ways this reminds me of Special Order 191 outside of Frederick, Md in the Antietem Campaign
      “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
      Mark Twain

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      • #4
        No, I have not. What I posted was what I took from a couple of documentaries and a few articles off the internet. We may never know the ultimate truth.

        The pictures (official) taken by the British of the "vagrant" show what appears to be a much older man, and not a subject I would have thought they'd choose to represent a naval officer...



        Further, he had been refrigerated for months. They couldn't freeze him solid, or the Spanish doctor would detect this. Apparently, the body was in a state of more advanced decay than they would have wanted. Then, HMS Dasher sunk... The British submarine Seraph was ordered from the East coast of Scotland, all the way around to the Western shore, close to the Dasher sinking, while the main operatives in London drove all night for the rendezvous to ostensibly LOAD the body they had into the Seraph. It would have made more sense to bring the Seraph to the body. Anyway, the evidence is convincing to me that they probably buried the vagrant in Scotland, and took the more recently deceased Seaman to become "Major Martin."
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