WWII's "Ghost Army" that tricked German troops with inflatable tanks and sound effects


I wonder what, if anything, it would take to pull that off nowadays with modern satellite and spy plane optics and other sensors.

That only makes it tougher to do but not impossible.

I’ve seen M-1 Abrams decoys from about 200’ away. They looked just like the real thing until I watched a forklift move one. I’m told they even include Kerosene burners to mimic the IR signature of the real thing.

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That’s the kind of thing I was wondering.

Years and years ago I tried to find an image of the patch for the phantom army, it was described as a shell but I had no idea what kind. For the life of me I couldn’t find anything about it anywhere.

Reminds me of this book “The War Magician” about Jasper Maskelyne, who used his considerable professional skills to design many deceits used successfully against the Axis. Literally smoke and mirrors at times. IIRC he also came up with a fire retardant which helped to save the lives of firefighters during the war & for many years after.

Finding themselves initially in a vastly inferior position, the British pulled out all the stops in terms of subterfuge.

The only patch I’ve ever seen related to them is this one:

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This also seems to be related.


Here’s another book on the devious techniques of perfidious Albion: A Genius for Deception by Nicholas Rankin. Deception and meta-deception: erecting Bedouin tents to (clearly) hide a force of tanks in the open desert - but then not putting the tanks in: there were no tanks to put in (not even inflatable ones).

Yes, great story. I still drink my Dos Equis with just a bit of irony. And eat my Greek food, with just a bit of extra relish. (Different, but related, WWII story.)

And, nobody knows…

Well, it was not a literal ghost army, so they did not have that going for them.

A little ghost army I had in one version of a ‘middle earth’ video game. Forget the name now. Call the ‘ghost army’ and win.

(Not shadows of mordor, but another excellent middle earth game where you actually are the ghost…)

Well… first you have to fix an election in Florida…

Here - collect the whole set of FUSAG heraldry, including 5 phantom airborne divisions. My own GrandPappy was a spearchucker in the 22nd Division (Scorpions). With apologies to Milton, “He serves who also leaves phantom tank tread marks.”
No effort was spared in carrying out this deceit since the Germans were sharp (but seriously mismanaged), and many, many lives depended upon it.

Maskelyne’s alleged contributions to the war effort seems to have been what can generously be called a self-created myth. This guy has a pretty exhaustive site debunking “The War Magician” and its claims: http://www.maskelynemagic.com/home.html

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If you can find it, PBS had a quite good documentary on the Ghost Army. Promo here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZOHNaVeWgQ

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