Ghost Army Of World War Ii : How One Top- Secret Unit Deceived The Enemy With Inflatable Tanks, Sound Effects, And Other Audacious Fakery (Updated E (Re by Rick Beyer and Elizabeth Sayles
View book: Ghost Army Of World War Ii : How One Top- Secret Unit Deceived The Enemy With Inflatable Tanks, Sound Effects, And Other Audacious Fakery (Updated E (Re
A captivating story told through personal testimonies and sketches, illustrating an extraordinary triumph against formidable circumstances. Tom Brokaw described it as a highly enjoyable experience. This groundbreaking book provides a comprehensive account of how a troupe of imaginative artists armed with paintbrushes and audacity saved numerous American lives. It has recently been updated with fresh material.
In the summer of 1944, a select group of young soldiers, comprising artists, designers, architects, and sound engineers (including Bill Blass, Ellsworth Kelly, Arthur Singer, Victor Dowd, Art Kane, and Jack Masey, who would go on to achieve great fame), were sent on a covert mission to France. The 23rd Headquarters Special Troops, affectionately known as the Ghost Army, employed deception tactics that involved fabricating convoys, feigning troop divisions, and establishing illusory headquarters, all with the intention of misleading the enemy about the strength and whereabouts of American forces. The utmost secrecy surrounded every aspect of their operations, leading to the suppression of their remarkable story for many years following the end of the war.
Accompanied by a vast array of vivid color and black-and-white photographs, maps, official documents, and correspondence, authors Rick Beyer and Elizabeth Sayles meticulously researched and conducted interviews with numerous soldiers. The result is a compelling narrative that delves into the extraordinary accomplishments of this unconventional team – their battlefield deceptions saved countless American lives and played a significant role in the advance towards Germany. The striking artwork created by the soldiers during their downtime offers a unique glimpse into life behind the front lines during World War II.
The new edition of the book features an additional afterword by co-author Rick Beyer, never-before-seen images, and an account of the successful campaign to have the unit bestowed with the Congressional Gold Medal.
Enthusiasts of history and World War II will find The Ghost Army of World War II an indispensable addition to their collection.
“The Ghost Army: Deceiving the Enemy in World War II”
Thank you for joining us today! We are thrilled to have Larry DeCures, one of the curators of the National World War II Museum, here with us. Although he is not the curator of the Ghost Army exhibit, credit for that goes to James Lynn. Today, we are joined by Rick Beyer and Elizabeth Sayles, authors of “The Ghost Army of World War II.” We will be taking you on a virtual tour of the exhibit and giving you an inside look at this incredible World War II unit that used deception to fool the Germans on the battlefields of Europe.
A Little Taste of Action
We always like to start our presentations with a video that gives you an overview of the Ghost Army in action. So, without further ado, let’s dive into a three-minute video that will introduce you to this amazing unit. Take note of the incredible deceptions they employed to fool the Germans.
Recreating the Inflatables
One of the most fascinating aspects of the Ghost Army was the use of inflatable tanks and equipment to deceive the enemy. The exhibit features a replica of an inflatable cannon, which would be covered with camouflage to give the illusion of a real piece of equipment. The soldiers would go to great lengths to make it look authentic, with sandbags, fake artillery shells, and even flash canisters to simulate firing. It’s truly incredible the level of detail they went to in order to fool the enemy.
Another important deception tactic used by the Ghost Army was the creation of phony headquarters. They would set up a complete headquarters with jeeps, officers, and even signs of daily life like Coca-Cola or beer advertisements. This replica of the 119th Regimental Headquarters in Germany gives you a glimpse into what these phony headquarters looked like. It’s amazing to see how they transformed ordinary spaces into convincing military installations.
Many members of the Ghost Army were artists, and their skills played a crucial role in the unit’s success. They would create fake patches for the soldiers to wear, design visual deceptions, and even paint during their downtime. Some of the artwork created during the war is featured in the exhibit, showcasing the talent and creativity within the unit. It’s fascinating to see how their time in the Ghost Army influenced their later artistic careers.
Ghost Army Insignia
One of the most iconic symbols of the Ghost Army is the ghost with lightning bolts insignia. It is believed to have originated from the official history of the unit, which featured the symbol on its cover. The true creator of the insignia is still uncertain, but its presence in the official history suggests it held significance within the unit. It has become a powerful symbol that represents the ingenuity and deception employed by the Ghost Army.
Preserving the Legacy
The National World War II Museum has done an incredible job of preserving and showcasing the story of the Ghost Army. The exhibit includes replicas of the inflatables, original artwork, personal mementos, and interactive displays. It’s a testament to the bravery and creativity of these soldiers who played a vital role in the Allied victory.
And that concludes our virtual tour of the Ghost Army exhibit at the National World War II Museum. We hope you’ve enjoyed this insider look at the fascinating story of the Ghost Army during World War II. Thank you to Rick Beyer and Elizabeth Sayles for joining us today and sharing their expertise on this incredible subject. Make sure to visit the exhibit in person if you have the chance, and don’t forget to explore more about the Ghost Army in their book “The Ghost Army of World War II.”