D-Day Chaff

  1. Foxbat

    Foxbat None The Wiser

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    There were many deceptions leading up to D-Day but I thought this one was particularly clever. The allies had aircraft fly tight and pre-determined formations out in the channel. They did this at a specific speed and level and dropped chaff whilst doing so. Apparently the radar reflections caused by this fooled the Germans into thinking a fleet of ships was heading for Boulogne.

    The more I learn about all these clever WW2 tricks, the more impressed (and grateful) I am to the men and women who played their parts in this conflict:)

    The National Archives Learning Curve | World War II | Western Europe 1939-1945: D-Day | Why was D-Day successful?
     
  2. dannymcg

    dannymcg Yan Tan Tethera

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    I liked the acronym they used for fuel supply; PLUTO, pipe line under the ocean.

    This was actually only under the English Channel but they were made of sterner stuff in those days..
    "PLUTEC? No way, call the English Channel an ocean! That'll work better"


    Nowadays there'd be a million sad gits harping on social media "But it's not an ocean"

    PLUTO,PLUTO PIPELINE,PIPELINE UNDER THE OCEAN,
     
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  3. J Riff

    J Riff The Ants are my friends..

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    There have been a few music pieces, songs about Pluto,,,, but: 'Pipeline' is not one of them, it's about surfing. The cleverness of our ancestors in saving out necks is not to be denigrated however ..- they also cracked codes and trained pigeons.
     
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  4. Foxbat

    Foxbat None The Wiser

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    Was thinking that this chaff idea could work in a Sci-Fi situation. Perhaps almost in a Beau Gestian manner, a ship could bounce signals off a nebula or something to make the enemy think that there are greater numbers than are actually present.

    Just thinking out loud for the hard Sci-Fi-erati among us :)
     
  5. Venusian Broon

    Venusian Broon Defending the SF genre with terminal intensity

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    In a more scatological bent....

    Your post made me think of the anti-tank mines the British made for North Africa. Apparently for good luck, German tank drivers drove through Camel poop for good luck. Thus the 'camel poop' mine was invented for SOE operations. Of course after a few blown tracks, out of operation tanks and the such like the Germans would have stopped this ritual and avoided anything that looked untouched...but then the British started producing camel poop mines with tracks in them so that tank drivers would feel safe in continuing the old tradition.

    I have had a look on the interweb and there's not a lot of info on this tale, so perhaps it's an urban myth. (How did the British find out that Germans drove their tanks through poop for luck?!?!) But I have heard it from a number of sources so perhaps it is, in fact, true.

    Not sure how you would put that into a military interstellar SF setting :D
     
  6. Foxbat

    Foxbat None The Wiser

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    I once read something similar regarding the Russian use of dog mines. The plan was to strap a mine to a dog and get it to run under a German tank where it would detonate. The dogs were spooked by the tank engine noise, so to acclimatise them, the Russians used to feed them under their own tanks with the engine running. When it came to testing for real, the dogs often made straight for the Russian tanks instead of the German ones (apparently it was the smell, not the noise that drew them - Russians used Deisel, Germans used Gasoline).
    Anti-tank dog - Wikipedia
     
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  7. Dave

    Dave Wherever I Am, I'm There Staff Member

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    Interrogated prisoners, spies and (less likely) intercepted coded messages. It isn't the kind of information one would think to ask or tell though, so an embedded tank crew spy would seem most likely.
     
  8. dannymcg

    dannymcg Yan Tan Tethera

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    This was done in original Battlestar Galactica ; Apollo and Starbuck calling up imaginary squadrons to engage the Cylon fleet. It worked long enough to get the Battlestar to a safe distance.
     
  9. Venusian Broon

    Venusian Broon Defending the SF genre with terminal intensity

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    It has the whiff of urban legend though. Why would it be on coded messages???? Thinking about it, it may have been observed by scouts or , say the forerunners of the SAS, the Long Range Desert Group, 'cause it was relatively easy to go behind enemy lines in the desert. Perhaps they did the first ones ad-hoc with the materials lying about at hand.

    Such weirdness reminds me of the story that goes: during the battle of Britain, we made a number of fake airfields constructed to make it harder for the Germans to find the real ones, but at one of the decoy 'stations', somewhere in the west country, a German plane once dropped a fake wooden bomb onto it. Sort of 'we know what you're doing'.

    Except it doesn't really make sense to go to the effort of dropping a lump of wood just to do that, so I think that's just a shaggy dog story.

    However I note that there is discussion of British bombers dropping wooden bombs on a fake German airfield and although most of the consensus is that it is a urban myth, possibly started as a bit of propaganda myth as psy warfare by SOE. However a few claimed that it did happen!

    Perhaps the camel dung mine is another SOE myth designed to have a bit of a laugh and show 'plucky Brit ingenuity'?
     
  10. Brian G Turner

    Brian G Turner He's a very naughty boy! Staff Member

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    And then there's the cardboard cut-out tanks, and inflatable tanks - some of which were used for deception in North Africa. :)

    And as my old home town of Hull was an important shipping port, to try and fool German bombers sets of lights were apparently established about 8 miles east of the city. The theory being that when Hull was blacked out, the German bombers would drop their munitions on the decoy light display. I don't recall how successful the strategy may or may not have been, though.
     
  11. Harpo

    Harpo π

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    My dad was a kid during the war, and a German bomber once flour-bombed him. Probably they had their actual bombs for actual bombing missions, plus other things (wooden bombs, bags of flour, etc) for target practice afterwards, or some such purpose.
     
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  12. Vladd67

    Vladd67 Stake Holder

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    Sounds like the way the Suez Canal was "moved"
     
  13. The Ace

    The Ace Scottish Roman.

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    In WW2, chaff was more widely known by the codename, "Window."

    Due to the longer wavelengths used at the time, it was easy enough to tear tinfoil strips to half the radar wavelength - this had been known about for donkeys' but the British government were afraid that the Germans would copy the idea and institute mass bomber raids of their own.

    It was first used in 1943 against Hamburg where, in a week of raids only 12 bombers (out of just under 800) were lost. The German, Duppel, was exactly the same thing. Some say it was named after the town in which it was found, others say for the site of its development.

    Interestingly, when the Germans developed a new AI radar immune to it, the allies were scratching their heads until a night-fighter pilot defected with his Ju 88 - then the tinfoil was torn to a shorter length.

    As to deception, false factories, towns, and even cities were reconstructed on open ground - and bombed to oblivion - by both sides, the prize has to go to the First US Army Group (FUSAG) under General Patton, though. Look it up, you wouldn't believe anything I'd tell you.
     
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  14. Brian G Turner

    Brian G Turner He's a very naughty boy! Staff Member

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  15. 2DaveWixon

    2DaveWixon Shocked and Appalled!

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    I wonder if one can get a patch for FUSAG, the one illustrated in the Wikipedia article -- wouldn't it be cool to wear that on one's jacket or cap?
     
  16. Foxbat

    Foxbat None The Wiser

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    This part of the website shows patches that were designed for fictional US Airborne divisions. I particularly like the 135th (tarantula on a yellow background). Don't know if they were actually manufactured but definitely would be cool to have one (or two, or three):)

    United States Army deception formations of World War II - Wikipedia
     
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  17. Ursa major

    Ursa major Bearly Believable Staff Member

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    I'm prettty sure that something like this was used in a Star Trek story**. (Okay, they weren't trying to pretend that there were more ships, just provide lots of distracting "reflections".)


    ** - I'm not sure which manifestation of Star Trek was involved.
     
  18. 2DaveWixon

    2DaveWixon Shocked and Appalled!

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    Foxbat: Thank you for that cite to the article on fake formations!
    I particularly liked that touch of having double agents report that the "Fourteenth Army" was made up largely of convicts!
     
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  19. Dave

    Dave Wherever I Am, I'm There Staff Member

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    They also did this on Tyneside. I think the codename was operation Starfish. Decoys made to look like a burning city from the air. It certainly worked because their are still bomb craters in Chopwell Woods where one of the the decoys was located.
     
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  20. Edward M. Grant

    Edward M. Grant Well-Known Member

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    SOE did a lot of amusing stuff. The 'rat bomb', for example, where they'd plant a small bomb in a dead rat to be left in a railway yard or similar site, with the hope that one of the workers would pick it up and toss it into the firebox of a boiler, where it would explode.

    And some possibly useful stuff: for example, distributing abrasive powder to the Resistance, who put it in train axles before D-Day so the trains would drive off and wear out their axles before they could get the tanks to the front.
     

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