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