United States Army deception formations of World War II
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The United States Army created a large number of notional deception formations that were used in a number of World War II deception operations. The most notable fictional US formation was the First U.S. Army Group (FUSAG); this field army was originally intended as the main invasion force for the Invasion of Normandy, however that was renamed to the 12th Army Group. FUSAG remained in existence on paper and was used during Operation Fortitude South to divert Axis attention to the Pas de Calais area.[page needed]
The imaginary formations ranged in size from battalion to field army and were faked using documents, photographs, double agents, news reportage and physical subterfuge. Some of the units were either based on existing decommissioned formations (usually World War I formations) or created afresh. Many were used multiple times, Clarke in particular believed that reusing units in the long term would help establish their existence in the mind of the enemy.
Field armies and army groups
|1st US Army Group (FUSAG)||1943 – October 1944||Fortitude South||Created for the planning of the invasion of Normandy the FUSAG later became redundant and was used to mislead Axis that the Allies intended a major invasion at Pas de Calais. Later utilised to threaten airborne landings in September 1944.|
|2nd US Army Group (SUSAG)||1943–1944||Originally intended to take the role of the FUSAG, but when the latter's job was taken over by the 12th Army Group the formation became redundant.|
|Twelfth Army||Activated as part of SHAEF, never used.|
|Fourteenth Army||May 1944 – October 1944||Fortitude South||A subordinate of FUSAG, supposedly landed in Liverpool and stationed in Little Waltham, Essex. Moved from FUSAG to SHAEF later in the year; double agents reported to the Germans that it was largely US convicts.|
|IX Amphibious Corps||1944||
||Wedlock||The notional amphibious component of the Ninth Fleet. Used to convey to the Japanese that the United States planned to attack the Kuriles rather than the Marianas.[page needed]|
|XXX Corps||Fortitude South||Activated as part of SHAEF, never used.[page needed]|
|XXXIII Corps||1944||Fortitude South|
|XXXV Airborne Corps||1945||
||Pastel Two||Formed part of Operation Pastel Two, the planned deception for Operation Olympic, but never formally used. The final version of Operation Pastel incorporated notional airborne landings, using dummy parachutists in the interior of Kyūshū. XXXV Airborne Corps was designated as carrying out this task. Had Operation Pastel been carried out, the first elements of the Corps, quartering parties of the notional 18th Airborne Division, would have been depicted as reaching Okinawa on 15 August 1945. Following this glider pilots were to have been depicted as reaching Okinawa around 20 August 1945, followed by the troops of the real 11th and 18th Airborne Divisions, starting to arrive in Okinawa on 1 September 1945. On the same day the notional corps headquarters would have been activated.|
|XXXVII Corps||1944||Fortitude South|
|XXXVIII Corps||Fortitude South||Activated as part of SHAEF, never used.[page needed]|
|XXXIX Corps||Fortitude South||Activated as part of SHAEF, never used.[page needed]|
|6th Airborne Division||May – July 1944||'Operation Vendetta', 1944.||This notional formation was 'built up' around real units, the 517th Regimental Combat Team, 1st Battalion, 551st Parachute Infantry Regiment & the 550th Airborne Infantry Battalion which were depicted as operating under a single command when in fact they were operating separately. Supposedly arrived in Sicily from the United States in May 1944. It was notionally attached to the Seventh United States Army and was to be dropped on the town of Paulhan in France to support a fictional invasion of the Narbonne region. It was disposed of by announcing in July 1944 that the division had been disbanded.|
|9th Airborne Division||June – November 1944||Fortitude South|
|11th Infantry Division||? – October 1944||
|14th Infantry Division||Activated as part of SHAEF, never used.|
|17th Infantry Division||June – October 1944||
|18th Airborne Division||
|21st Airborne Division||June – November 1944||
||Fortitude South||The division was initially depicted as being under the direct command of US 14th Army with its headquarters located in Fulbeck, Lincolnshire in June 1944. In the Pas de Calais landings it and the 9th Airborne Division were to be dropped behind the XXXVII Corps beachheads. In August 1944 it was notionally transferred to the direct command of First United States Army Group, where it assisted in the training of the U.S. 48th Infantry Division in air landing techniques. In the aftermath of Fortitude South, the notional U.S. 9th and 21st Airborne Divisions, the notional British 2nd Airborne Division, and the real United States 17th Airborne Division were used to depict an airborne threat to the Kiel-Bremen area, supporting Operation Market Garden. In November 1944 it was announced that the division had been merged with the 9th Airborne Division to form the 13th Airborne Division, a real unit that was about to be deployed to France.|
|22nd Infantry Division|
|48th Infantry Division||June – December 1944||
||Fortitude South||The 48th Infantry Division was "created" in 1944 as an 'phantom division'. It formed part of Operation Quicksilver and Fortitude South II to replace the real 6th Armored Division when it moved to Normandy.
The division was presented to the Germans as a well trained unit that had been formed at Camp Clatsop, Oregon, in 1942. Following training at the Desert Training Center and maneuvers in the Olympic Peninsula the division had guarded the ALCAN Highway before being shipped to England in June 1944, where Agent Garbo reported that the uncle of one of his agents (An American NCO in the ETO Services of Supply.) was a member of the division, which was not at the time he made the report under the command of either the First US Army Group or the 21st Army Group. After disembarkation, the division established its initial headquarters at Newcastle-under-Lyme in Staffordshire before moving to Woodbridge in Suffolk. There, as part of the U.S. XXXIII Corps (United States) of the US 14th Army it was assigned the role of following up the Pas de Calais landings.
Following Fortitude South II the division was depicted as moving to Brockenhurst in Hampshire where it carried out air landing training in conjunction with the US 21st Airborne Division. In December 1944 the division was depicted as moving to Dundee in Scotland where it was disbanded at the start of 1945, with some soldiers being used as replacements for other units while a small cadre returned to the United States.
|50th Infantry Division|
|55th Infantry Division||October 1943 – March 1945||
|59th Infantry Division||
|15th Armored Division||Activated as part of SHAEF, never used.|
|25th Armored Division||Fortitude South|
|39th Armored Division||Activated as part of SHAEF, never used.|
|119th Infantry Division||
|130th Infantry Division||
|135th Airborne Division||
|141th Infantry Division||
|157th Infantry Division||
- 46th Infantry Division
- Hesketh, Roger (1999). Fortitude: The D-Day Deception Campaign. St Ermins Press. ISBN 0-316-85172-8.
- Harris, Tomás (2000). Garbo: The Spy Who Saved D-Day. Public Record Office. ISBN 1-873162-81-2.
- Holt, Thaddeus (2004). The Deceivers: Allied Military Deception in the Second World War. Scribner. ISBN 0-7432-5042-7.
- Huber, Dr Thomas M. (1988). PASTEL: Deception in the Invasion of Japan (PDF). Combat Studies Institute.
- Rankin, Nicholas (1 October 2008). Churchill's Wizards: The British Genius for Deception, 1914–1945. London: Faber and Faber. ISBN 0-571-22195-5.