Operation Mincemeat was a 1943 WWII deception operation that was part of the larger Operation Barclay which was intended to conceal Operation Husky The Allied invasion of Sicily planned for July 1943 It involved planting the dead body of a fictitious British officer off the south coast of Spain Attached to the wrist of this man would be a briefcase containing documents about an Allied invasion of Greece Ewen Montagu and Charles Cholmondeley were the men responsible for planning and executing this operation They used the body of a dead tramp Glyndwr Michael and turned him into the fictional Major William Martin of the Royal Marines Montagu and Cholmondeley created William down to every last detail wallet litter a worn uniform documents written by actual senior officials and more By April 19th 1943 the body was bound for Spain via a submarine from Scotland Soon after William was fished out of the ocean by a Spanish fisherman and taken to a morgue in Huelva Spain Adolf Caluss a German spy living in Huelva at the time initially tried to get hold of the documents however it was Karl Erich Kuhlenthal who eventually managed it Meanwhile Montagu and Cholmondeley were continuously surveilling German SIGINT to see if Mincemeat was working and it was Kuhlenthal had taken photos of the documents and was on his way to Berlin where German intelligence would examine the authenticity and pass it up the chain of command Hitler was ultimately convinced which prompted him to take action by moving reinforcements to Greece Subsequently on the morning of July 10th 1943 the Allies successfully invaded Sicily with less casualties and losses than expected
Furthermore Mincemeat s effect went beyond Sicily Mussolini soon fell from power and Hitler had to abandon a soviet offensive plan as he was coming to terms with the Allied invasion of Italy Mincemeat had successfully helped to change the course of the war Successful Deception Three major factors led to the success of Operation Mincemeat 1 knowing your enemy s convictions 2 the importance of intelligence feedback and 3 how deception should support overall strategic operations All three are lessons that future intelligence professionals can learn from Enemy Convictions One of the most significant planning efforts was gaining knowledge about the enemy s preconceived notions and personal convictions Montagu knew that you had to put yourself in the mind of the enemy By learning Hitler's personal convictions i e that he believed an allied threat came from the Peloponnese region and that he was reluctant to put troops in Sicily during speculations of an Italian withdrawal from the conflict a better deception plan could be built It consequently made sense to create an allied invasion of Greece since it would verify what Hitler already thought to be true He would then be more likely to take action on such information subsequently increasing the probability of the deception s success This type of planning set up the deception in a way that allowed the Germans to think that they were discovering bits of information on their own Mincemeat as one of those pieces of the larger plan was fed to the Germans and it was then up to them as to whether or not they actually took action on it Luckily for the Allies they did Therefore by tapping into the mind of the enemy i e Hitler's thinking Montagu Cholmondeley and their team achieved great success Intelligence Feedback
The intelligence feedback during the operation was also an important aspect that can be taken on within future operations Bletchley Park and the analogous Ultra program provided significant amounts of SIGINT to Montagu and Cholmondeley This allowed them to know how their scheme was functioning through each step in the process and whether it was successful or if they had been exposed Not only could they obtain the German s SIGINT but they could then create their own false information that could potentially be intercepted by German Intelligence Montagu and Cholmondeley did exactly this when they sent word that the UK was seeking immediate information on the body and its contents Subsequently the purposely misleading communication gave the Germans even more reason to think that the deception in play was nothing but true This successful piece of the operation emphasizes the importance of integrating accurate and responsive intelligence within all future actions Support Strategic Operations There is no point in a deception operation if it does not directly support overall strategic interests Mincemeat successfully played a smaller yet still salient part of Operation Barclay It was not an isolated effort but rather part of a lengthier process of strategic deception Since Mincemeat was properly integrated within the planning of military operations it therefore supported the general objectives of the war Deception is meant to make the enemy quite certain very decisive and wrong Mincemeat s aim was to deceive the Germans into thinking the Allies would attack Greece rather than Sicily but the objective was not just to deceive but for the enemy to take or not take action on such deceit Mincemeat achieved this Hitler took action where the Allies wanted i e moving troops tanks and other resources to Greece and did not take action i e not sending reinforcements and other resources to Sicily to the Allies advantage Successful deception causes the enemy to make the decisions and take actions that benefit you not them Thus the hoax created by Operation Mincemeat was properly used to benefit the larger objective of invading Sicily in order to support the greater goals within the war
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