Converse's Reviews > Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory
by Ben Macintyre
bookshelves: history, non-fiction, warfare, espionage
In 1943 the British attempted to deceive the Germans about where the next invasion would occur in the Meditteranean. They did so by dressing up the corpse of an unfortunate Welsh drifter (he died ingesting rat poison) in a Royal Marine uniform and attaching to him a briefcase with fake documents indicating invasions in Sardinia and the Balkans. The corpse was put into the Atlantic off the coast of Spain; that portion of the coast had an active German agent. The body was duly picked up by some Spanish fisherman. Eventually the Spanish authorities let members of the German embassy in Madrid make copies of the documents before they were returned to the British, who were pretending to be concerned for the quick return of the documents.
The Germans, in particular Hitler, believed the information to be credible and acted upon it, moving forces to the Balkans and Sardinia. The Italians were less impressed, but then their armed forces were not as strong as the Germans, so from the allied point of view it mattered less what they thought.