By Dick Martin
Winston Churchill was said to remark that “truth in wartime should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.” This remark was the inspiration for the name of the secret operation to shield the climatic WWII Allied invasion of the beaches at Normandy in northern France from the Germans. The operation was an elaborate ruse designed to keep the Germans dispersed from Greece to Norway by fooling them as to the location of the invasion. The Allies wanted the Germans to think that Normandy was a diversion with the main effort coming at the much closer coastal town of Calais, 150 miles northeast of Normandy and across the English Channel from England and the Strait of Dover.
The operation consisted of simulated preparations conducted across the English Channel in southeastern England. A 50 division invasion force called FUSAG (First US Army Group) was created. The ruse consisted of fake cardboard tanks and planes and General Patton making many very public southeastern England appearances as its commander. The Germans were sure General Patton would be the Allied commander. The French do not have much to be proud of during WWII, but the Resistance movement cannot be included in that evaluation. The French resistance with many varied tasks assigned to it was instrumental in the success of Operation Overlord. Through the efforts of courageous and daring agents and double-agents, seven weeks after D-Day, Hitler still kept seven divisions in reserve to counter what he thought would be the Allies’ true invasion location, Calais.
We will never know what the consequences would have been if Operation Bodyguard had not been successful. Planning for the invasion took a year, but it is scary to think that Hitler only needed 48 hours of advance notice to affect the success of Operation Overlord.
Taken from Wikipedia and The National Geographic Atlas of World War II
By Dick Martin
What did they do with all the rubble left over from the millions of tons of bombs dropped on European cities during World War II? This question was posed by Jose Emilio Hernandez to the staff of WWII magazine in its recent issue (October 2019). According to John Maloney, the former Principal Archaeology Officer of the Museum of London, the rubble had a variety of uses.
Dozens of cities, including London, Warsaw, Dresden, Frankfort, and Berlin, and nearly all other major German cities suffered significant damage or were completely razed. In continental cities, much of the post-bombing rubble was used as hardcore, the foundation upon which concrete or other solid construction materials can be laid for building or rebuilding. Additional bomb rubble was either dumped in old quarries or used for embanking rivers, as barriers against coastal erosion, or to help build up low-lying area of land. So much rubble was dumped in East London marshes, the site of the 2012 Olympic Park, that it has been estimated that it raised the ground by ten feet. Some of the rubble was used as ballast in empty supply ships returning to American to pick up more supplies for the beleaguered Londoners. Rubble was transported by ship to Manhattan in New York where it was offloaded and used as fill to create some new very expensive real estate East of Belleview Hospital between 23rd and 34th Streets, the FDR Drive highway, and Bristol Basin.
Edited by Dick Martin