Washington, May 1(ANI): Credited with helping the Allies win the Second World War and saving thousands of British and American lives, the role of the 'Ghost Army' will be revealed in a documentary, and an exhibition opening at the University of Michigan today.
The 'Ghost Army' was the U.S. Army's tactical deception unit, which consisted of actors, make-up artists and sound experts, who used hundreds of inflatable tanks and artillery, deployed the latest sound technology and posed as drunken military officers, to spread disinformation in over five major campaigns.
Officially known as the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops, the 1,100-man unit was given a unique mission within the Army to impersonate other U.S. Army units in order to fool the enemy.
Rick Beyer, Director of the documentary film entitled 'The Ghost Army', who has interviewed 21 surviving members of the unit, said that the idea for the unit came after Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery deceived Rommel by building dummy tanks out of plywood during the Battle of El Alamein, The Telegraph reported.
From a few weeks after D-Day, when they landed in France, until the end of the war, they put on a traveling road show, using inflatable tanks, sound trucks, phony radio transmissions and even playacting, the paper said.
They were also experts in espionage and intelligence, dressing up as senior officers and pretending to get drunk in towns that had been liberated by the Allies, but which were suspected of still harbouring spies, it added.
"They would talk loudly about false plans in bars and even let slip 'important' plans to prostitutes in brothels, hoping that this information would be passed on," the paper quoted Beyer, as saying.
Through their acts they aimed to convince German reconnaissance and intelligence that they were an army of 30,000 men.
Their mission was kept secret until 1996, and elements of it are still classified. (ANI)