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Dover Castle

In 1944 Britain became the staging area for the Allied invasion of Europe. In Kent a large deception program was set up to trick the Germans into believing that the invasion would take place at Calais instead of Normandy.
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Liberation Route Europe

Liberation Route:Great BritainKent

In 1944 preparations for the invasion of Europe were fully underway in Britain. To ensure the success of the invasion large-scale deceptions were set up to trick the Nazis into believing the main landings would take place at Calais instead of Normandy. In Kent an entire fictional Army Group was set up to achieve this goal. This deception was so successful that even after the landings in Normandy the German army kept strong forces in Calais in anticipation of another Allied attack.

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Highlighted story: Operation Fortitude South

As D-Day approached, Kent became the stage for one of the War’s greatest deception plans, Operation Fortitude South. In order to mislead the German army and conceal the real location of the Allied invasion of Western Europe, extensive military preparations were made around Dover. But it was all fake.

One of the War’s greatest deception operations
In this picture:
Operation Fortitude South
Dummy Aircraft as part of Operation Fortitude’s deception of Germany.

Operation Fortitude sought to mislead the German army and conceal the real location of the foreseen Allied invasion of Normandy (June 1944). Operation Fortitude North was designed to give the impression of an impending Allied invasion of Norway, while Operation Fortitude South was to develop a mock invasion at Pas-de-Calais, all working to divert German troops away from Normandy.

For the Germans, Pas-de-Calais looked to be the obvious place for an Allied invasion into Europe, offering the shortest route across the Channel. A fictitious 1st U.S. Army Group (FUSAG) was placed in Kent, supported by the construction of roads, bridges, buildings, airfields and embarkation points where dummy airplanes and landing crafts were stationed. Even false radio transmissions were made.

A decrypted transmission from the Japanese Ambassador to his government, recounting a conversation with Hitler, revealed that the Germans indeed expected an Allied invasion via the Straits of Dover. On 5 June 1944, a mock invasion was launched from Dover, while the real invasion on 6 June, Operation Overlord, successfully delivered 185.000 troops across to Normandy.

Even long after the Normandy landings, Adolf Hitler retained his best troops in Pas-de-Calais, expecting an even larger invasion at a later date.

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