The Normandy Deception
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 Exciting if journalistic description by Breuer (Geronimo!, Hitler's Undercover War, Sea Wolf--all 1989, etc.) of the vast superstructure of deception erected by the Allies to mislead Hitler about the focus of the D-Day invasion. Churchill called the deception, which succeeded in keeping huge German forces immobilized in Scandinavia and the Balkans, ``the greatest hoax in history'': As late as eight weeks after the Normandy invasion, the German Fifteenth Army was still waiting for a nonexistent attack in the Pas de Calais area from a nonexistent army of 1.5 million men under Patton's command. Meanwhile, an enormous force of more than 5,000 ships, 700 warships, and 150,000 men had been able to approach the Normandy beaches unobserved. No German leader expected the attack on the date it occurred, and Allied D-Day casualties, which had been expected to number more than 60,000, were in fact fewer than 12,000. Much of Breuer's material is familiar, including his discussion of the huge advantage given to the Allies by the breaking of the German codes, and of the control by British Intelligence of every German spy in Britain. But though the author relies almost entirely on previously published information, some of it is less familiar--for example, the covert buying of long-dormant Norwegian stocks and bonds in European financial centers, in order to suggest that Norway would be one focus of the Allied attack; and the extraordinarily thorough means by which, in the final days before D-Day, Britain closed itself down to prevent any last-minute leakage of information, a process that included opening diplomatic pouches and forbidding foreign diplomats to leave England. While Breuer can hardly pass a clichÇ without picking it up (diplomats are ``striped-pants bureaucrats'' and ``glamorous femme fatales'' like to ``snuggle up'' to British agents), he brings together the elements of deception in a compelling way, revealing more fully than individual narratives have done just how brilliant the Allied deception actually was. (Military Book Club Dual Selection for May)

Pub Date: May 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-275-94438-7
Page count: 296pp
Publisher: Praeger
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1993


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