How The Brits Fooled The Luftwaffe

cshortridge73
3rd October 2012, 14:19
Two thousand five hundred people are estimated to have been saved from death and another 3,000 from injury, while millions of pounds' worth of damage to property was avoided, by the use of a system of military and industrial decoy targets as a defense against the Luftwaffe. Now is a good time to review just what took place....and how it worked.....and actually 'How Well it Worked!"


In reading the article make sure you click on red Link "STARFISH" to the in-depth details.

Link to article HERE (http://navalmerchantshiparticles.blogspot.com/2012/10/how-brits-fooled-luftwaffe.html)

5036
3rd October 2012, 14:39
Churchill's Wizards by Nicholas Rankin expands on this and many other illusions used throughout the war, even operation Mincemeat.

There were also some humorous results such as:

"Some years ago an old painter from the Slade told me of a deputation of artists sent to work on a false munitions factory, made of wood and canvas, near Dover. The morning the last brushstrokes were applied, everyone gathered to toast their achievement. As hip-flasks and glasses were raised, he said, a German light bomber came out of the eastern sun, flew over the dummy factory, rocked its wings amiably, and dropped in the centre of the structure a single, balsa-wood bomb."

cshortridge73
3rd October 2012, 14:45
I certainly got a chuckle out of your humorous story....EXCELLENT!!!

Malky Glaister
3rd October 2012, 14:53
Nice one Nav!!

regards

Malky

Duncan112
3rd October 2012, 15:48
Thanks for the link to the Norfolk & Suffolk Aviation Museum - It's well worth a visit if you are in the area - St Peters Brewery up the road is also worth a visit(Pint)

Ron Stringer
3rd October 2012, 15:59
We lived at the base of the Pennines, just to the East of Manchester. During the war we had 2 airmen billeted with us in our 3-bedroomed house (Dad was overseas in the Army and Mum and I shared one bedroom).

The airmen were based at a brick and concrete building about half a mile down the lane from our house, in the middle of the countryside. I was taken there by my mother and we were shown round. I can only remember there were 4 or 5 airmen inside and there was a cast-iron stove on which they made tea.

They had all gone by the time that my Dad was demobbed in 1946 and the site was closed and all the contents (including the stove) dismantled. I often used to look in the empty building in later years. It was still there in the late 1960s but has gone now.

I never heard mention of "Starfish" but later my mother that the site was very "hush-hush". She said that she couldn't tell me about it until the war was over but the airmen who stayed with us were responsible for starting big decoy fires to get the enemy bombers drop their load on the fields around us rather than on their targets in Manchester and the surrounding towns.

Bet the neighbours would have been pleased to know they had been made targets!

Don't think the site was much good as we only got a score or so bombs dropped within a couple of miles of us during the entire war.

5036
5th October 2012, 19:24
What an amazing story of camraderie, bravery and possible personal sacrifice. Close to tears on that one. How can you make kids realise that this was "reality" no pc, no politics, no beating about the bush, just reality.

donald h
5th October 2012, 20:29
I`d read about the decoy system previously, Bud, but this is the first time I`ve seen the numbers attributed to it. Very interesting.

Donald

Robert Bush
13th February 2013, 20:02
New 2012 book ISBN 978-0-547-61481-6

About a Catalan Spaniard who came to England as a double spy and worked with M 15 in their deception of Germany.

Contains some mistakes, such as "Dakar is South of Casablanca," but
is still a very good story. 260 pages.

Hugh Ferguson
13th February 2013, 20:34
Where I live, down on the Lizard in Cornwall, there still exist many reminders of what went on around here all those years ago.
Mostly Americans took off for Omaha & Utah from this area and just around the corner from where I live you can still see the concreted beaches from which the landing craft set off from the Helford River. Further up at Tolverne cottage they still fly the Stars & Stripes on occasion but it's rare to see an old G.I. visiting as they once used to.
Some of the lanes still have the lay-bye areas where the Shermans and transport lay in wait for the off and there are concrete barriors, on the sides of all the lanes leading up from the many beaches, still there.
Regarding the provision of decoy sites there was one not far from where I sit typing this. On clear nights, when bombers might be expected to clobber Falmouth Docks, a squad of Home Guards started fires there but sadly, on one occasion, the Luftwaffe missed it and hit a cottage completely destroying it and killing the occupants (I believe a baby survived but I would need to check that out). The decoy site is now occupied by badgers!

sparkie2182
13th February 2013, 20:36
Dakar is North of Casablanca??????????

chadburn
13th February 2013, 20:49
Where I live, down on the Lizard in Cornwall, there still exist many reminders of what went on around here all those years ago.
Mostly Americans took off for Omaha & Utah from this area and just around the corner from where I live you can still see the concreted beaches from which the landing craft set off from the Helford River. Further up at Tolverne cottage they still fly the Stars & Stripes on occasion but it's rare to see an old G.I. visiting as they once used to.
Some of the lanes still have the lay-bye areas where the Shermans and transport lay in wait for the off and there are concrete barriors, on the sides of all the lanes leading up from the many beaches, still there.
Regarding the provision of decoy sites there was one not far from where I sit typing this. On clear nights, when bombers might be expected to clobber Falmouth Docks, a squad of Home Guards started fires there but sadly, on one occasion, the Luftwaffe missed it and hit a cottage completely destroying it and killing the occupants (I believe a baby survived but I would need to check that out). The decoy site is now occupied by badgers!

I am fairly sure that somewhere in your area there were "rumour's" of a large American Dump underneath a Caravan Site, this was a few year's ago and may have been just a "rumour" as I have not heard anymore about it. Usually the Decoy Site's were on higher ground to make sure they would be seen first as the target, being on high ground the Site's are now been looked at for windfarm's as there is some dicussion as to whether they are classed as brown field site's due to a wartime Bunker being built on the Site which had a genny attached to power the igniter's.

yorkshiregeordie
14th February 2013, 00:45
Dakar is North of Casablanca??????????
You must have your chart upsidedown.

Casablanca is 33 - 32N 7 - 35W

Dakar is 14 - 41N 17 - 27W

Cheers

audierne
25th February 2013, 16:01
Reading Nav's post (N°2), I was reminded of a similar anecdote.
It is to be found in "The Flying Sailor" by Rear Admiral André Jubelin, Free French Navy. Published by Hurst & Blackett London, my edition 1954.
It is a very long part of the story and was written between the beginning of July and july 13th 1942. It is about dummy airfields in France.
The relevant part of the entry (p. 187 - 188) reads:
"...The ennemy's camouflage was thus raised to the status of an art. But our spies' ingenuity immediately foiled his plan. The recent history of the aerodrome at Amiens was a case in point.
The Luftwaffe had grouped several dummy squadrons there, which were perfect reproductions, in wood, of Messerschmidts. One afternoon thirty Bostons came to give them a sprinkling, but with wooden bombs. Even in the middle of a war English humour remained irrepressible."
Basically the same story. I wonder whether there are others of the same lying about.
There are also photos of German dummies opposite p. 209.
Regards

IanAM
25th February 2013, 16:48
There is a 'Starfish' site, complete with bunker, in West Yorkshire near Hebden Bridge.

Have a look here. (http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/114468)

Samsette
25th February 2013, 17:48
Far and away the greatest diversion was Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of Russia. Hitler needed his entire Luftwaffe strength for the new front.

Mad Landsman
25th February 2013, 18:56
In south Dorset there was an RAF airfield at Warmwell, to the East of Dorchester.
It was decided that as there was a piece of open heathland slightly further east that would be a good location for a decoy airfield site. Apparently it was an effective success and this (Starfish?) site was bombed in lieu of the actual airfield more than once.

The problems arose after the war. HM Government was looking for remote sites to build experimental nuclear reactors and discovered that they had a claim on Winfrith Heath in Dorset, with the apparent bonus that it had not been used as a military range, or so they thought.
When building started one of first the things that they discovered was that when bombs hit soft ground they might not exploded but just bury themselves beneath the heather.
It put the initial project months behind while they cleared the unexploded ordnance and all other projects on the site had to make suitable allowance for surveys and clearance if required.