Inflatable Tanks, Special Effects: World War Two ‘Ghost Army’ Troops Receive Top US Medal

Inflatable Tanks, Special Effects: World War Two ‘Ghost Army’ Troops Receive Top US Medal

Their tactics, including sound effects and fake radio traffic, misled the German forces.

World War II servicemen who used inflatable tanks and Hollywood-style special effects to deceive the Nazis have been honoured with a Congressional Gold Medal, the US Congress’ highest honour, according to The Metro.

For Seymour Nussenbaum, 100; John Christman, 99; and Bernard Bluestein, 100, who rarely spoke of their courageous actions, it was a special moment of pride.

During 1944 and 1945, they were part of covert US units that saved tens of thousands of lives with their clever tactics, known as a “travelling road show.” They used actors and various tricks across Europe to mislead the Nazi German army into sending troops to the wrong locations, as per the news outlet.

According to The BBC, the covert Ghost Army successfully misled German forces into believing a massive Allied force was about to attack across the Rhine River. This phantom army, comprised of just over 1,100 men, strategically deployed hundreds of inflatable tanks and trucks to create the illusion of a real division (approximately 40,000 troops).

To further the deception, they used loudspeakers to broadcast sounds of troop movement and meticulously simulate military radio traffic. Additionally, some Ghost Army members donned officer uniforms and staged their presence in locations known to be monitored by German spies. This elaborate ruse resulted in minimal resistance at the actual Rhine crossing point, significantly aiding the Allied advance.

Mr Nussenbaum says he rarely talks about his experience during the war, telling the BBC: “I don’t like to beat my own drum.”

Mr Bluestein says he always tells his family he did “camouflage work” during the war.

“The dangerous part I didn’t tell them about. They wouldn’t have liked it,” he said with a chuckle.

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