I’ve been listening to “Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory” by Ben Macintyre from Audible.com. The true story of the World War II British intelligence services deception plan, codenamed “Operation Mincemeat“, to fool the Germans before the Sicily Invasion in 1943. A fantastic story that took over 50 years to be fully revealed.
“Operation Mincemeat” was an idea to trick the Germans into believing a lie, in hopes of taking their attention off the obvious buildup to the invasion of Sicily. Flight Lt. Charles Cholmondeley, RAF, of MI5 took an idea from a memo by Ian Fleming, yes, the same future author of James Bond, and with the help of Lt. Cmdr. Ewen Montagu, Royal Navy, planned to drop a dead body with fake documents off the coast of Spain, in hopes that the Spanish authorities would turn the body over to the Germans. With any luck, the Germans would accept the documents as authentic and make their plans to defend southern Europe accordingly.
The story outlines the difficulty of the plan. From the unscrupulous acquisition of a dead body that no one would miss, to the creation of a Royal Marine who never existed. And finally, a submarine mission that almost went wrong and the Spanish officials who almost didn’t give the documents from the body to the Germans! In the end, the British Intelligence Services turn a dead drunken pauper into a secret hero who’s name is not revealed until over fifty years after it’s successful mission.
If you’ve seen the movie, The Man Who Never Was
, then you know part of the story. A great movie, but lacking much of the true history because the British were still protecting relations with Spain at the time. The movie was based upon a book, “The Man Who Never Was: World War II’s Boldest Counter-Intelligence Operation
“, written by Ewen Montagu, one of the men pivotal in planning “Operation Mincemeat”.
I enjoy the movie but now that I’ve heard the complete story as told in”Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory
” then I’d like to see a new movie. Only not changed and screwed up as Hollywood so often does to great history stories. The truth is greater than any fiction they could write!
Well worth the read is you enjoy World War II or spy craft!