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Running head: OPERATION MINCEMEAT
Course Number-Name of Course
In 1943, World War II was on course as it approached its end in 1945. Several countries
had taken sides depending on their history, welfare, and concerns. The military from different
countries applied different approaches and tactics, others which were meant to deceive the
enemy according to a private report given by Sellers (2009) who is a major at the United States
Air Force in Maxwell Airbase in Alabama.
Sellers assert that there were more than forty deception tactics used by the military to
deceive, confuse and change the enemy’s course. Sellers (2009) further notes that operation
mincemeat was arguably the most successful during the Second World War in enemy deception.
This articulation is reiterated by Smith (2010) who terms it as one of the most deathly operations
ever conducted during the WWII.
Its operation enhanced by a previous operation dubbed Operation Husky whose main
target was the German military (Montagu, 1996). This operation was to divert the attention of the
Germans through deception. The Second World War archives have it that Sicily was the main
target during the time of Operation Barclay. There was a need for Operation Mincemeat to
achieve this target.
What did Operation Mincemeat Entail?
On April 30, 1943, the stage of the war was set for the sides, with Germany and Italy
having their target enemies against the southern side of Europe. Sicily in Italy was the primary
target for Germans (Smyth, 2010). Before they achieved their objective of attacking Sicily, their
operation was aborted through the operation Mincemeat which was successfully conducted by
British Intelligence Unit referred to as M15 (Sellers, 2009). The success of the operation was
based on the fact that the Germans were duped to divert their attention and run errands to other
places. At this time, the enemy used Alex leadership, and all hopes were that they could refocus
and lessen the defense on Sicily.
How Did They Deceive The Enemy?
Charles Cholmondeley was the lieutenant of the Royal Air Force who was involved in the
whole intelligence process together with Montagu (Macintyre, 2010). The success of the plan
was based on usage of the body of a deceased man. Full deception included the use of the
falsified documents and letting the body float at the coast of the Huelva where the German or
Spanish spies were likely to pass by as they patrolled the area (Scribner, 2004). The deceased
body which was used was for a man who was homeless but was of Wales’s origin. He had died
of consuming rat poison.
With the yellowish body due to the presence of phosphorous, it was apparent that the
Germans and Spanish authorities would be convinced that the deceased had drowned or was
merely a hypothermia victim (Haufler, 2014). The intellectual capacity of the British M15 unit
was on another level. The body of the deceased was let floating with fake documents including a
falsified name of an officer who was operating with the Royal Marines. It is crucial to note that
there was a law which was broken in this operation.
The operating officer, Coronel Bentley certified that the Williams Bill Martin, the name
of the Royal Marine officer, had died abroad and his body was being transferred to the
Intelligence Unit. The package also had details of tickets, credit cards, and falsified personal
information. In this information, the intelligence unit included seemingly classified information
which linked the deceased with the some of the high-ranking officials in the United States
(Montagu, 1996). The information hinted that Sicily was not going to be the primary target.
Instead, Kalamata and Sardinia were to be the primary focus of the military.
At the last days of April, the body of “William Marin” was set on water, a kilometer
away from Huelva. The lead teams ensured that the body of the deceased did not further
decompose or decay by fixing it in steel can. The British military assessed the situation and
identified that one of the lead operators in the mission, Adolf Clauss, would get the information
and take it home to Berlin, the headquarters of all Germany Military operations at the time
The launch of the falsified package was faced with unprecedented hiccups, but it did not
raise the attention of the Spanish patrollers. Few hours after the body was set afloat, it was
discovered by a man doing his routine fishing. He took the body to Huelva where a postmortem
was conducted to determine the origin and cause of the death. It was apparent that the pathologist
discovered that some of the parts of the body had decomposed, an indication that the body must
have stayed for a while after death (Montagu, 1996). However, the report indicated that the
person had drowned in the water. Subsequently, the report did not raise any initial suspicion,
something that went in line with the expectations of the British Intelligence Unit.
So far the plan was smooth. Montagu and the team involved in the intelligence process
claimed that the process was a complex and its success would only be determined by time. “We
simply had to get the letter to Spain by the beginning of May if the operation was to be of any
value; we had to give the German Intelligence Service time to get the information, convince
themselves of its genuineness by any checkup that they might want, and then to ―appreciate it
and pass the result on to the operational staff. The latter would then need time to make their
arrangements and to send their forces to the wrong places,” (Montagu, 1996).
Apparently, there was a need to raise suspicion and create a notion that the documents
were official and highly confidential. A message was broadcast by the British through a radio
whose target was Berlin in Germany, claiming that some crucial documents containing details of
militia operations had gone missing (Macintyre. 2010). The curiosity of the Spanish authorities
was provoked, and they were prompted to open them in the presence of the Germans to discover
the hidden secrets of M15.
The Spanish and German authorities made copies and gave back the original documents
(Montagu, 1996). Upon receiving the original prints, the Intelligence Unit determined that the
letter had been opened, evident from the way the folds had changed their initial outlay designed
by the officers. Adolf Hitler had had his fair share of military invention, a great discovery. He
ordered that there should be a reshuffle of the army, and all focus should be concentrating on the
new target which was Kalamata in Greece. The deception was conducted which led to the
diversion of attention of the German and Spanish military. A successful attack was made on
Sicily (Montagu, 1996).
In conclusion, it is apparent that the success of the operation can be attributed to the fact
that deceptive military tactics conducted by Montagu and the group of intellects. The role which
Adolf played in the deception cannot be underestimated since he was reluctant to send his
troupes to Sicily. This is because Italy was almost withdrawing from the conflict. The intellects
had been successful in ensuring that they have duped the enemies. Consequently, what followed
was a change of strategy by the Germans. The deception by Montagu and team made it possible
for the allies to be successful in achieving their target while the enemy was lost in the deception.
Haufler, H. (2014). The Spies who never Were: The True Story of the Nazi Spies who Were
Actually Allied Double Agents. Open Road Media.
Macintyre, B. (2010). Operation mincemeat: the true spy story that changed the course of World
War II. A&C Black.
Montagu, E (1996). The Man Who Never Was, Oxford New York: Oxford University Press.
Scribner, (2004). The Deceivers: Alled Military Deception in the Second World War, New York:
Sellers E B (2009). Case Study: Operation Mincemeat, Major, United States Air Force| Alabama.
Smyth, D. (2010). Deathly Deception: The Real Story of Operation Mincemeat. OUP Oxford.
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