Deception Operations Generally

F - L

Ferris, John. "The Intelligence-Deception Complex: An Anatomy." Intelligence and National Security 4, no. 4 (Oct. 1989): 719-734.

Ferris attempts to "mediate" the dispute between the historian, Klaus-Jürgen Müller, and the political scientist, Michael Handel, on the issue of how to assess the effect of deception -- and by extension, of intelligence -- in warfare. The main problem rests in the fact that often the only evidence available of effect/noneffect is circumstantial in nature. Clear standards of proof are needed in such situations.

Foster, Donald L. "The Man Who Was." Army 33, no. 8 (1983): 55-56.

Petersen: "Operation Mincemeat, the British deception operation before the invasion of Sicily."

Gerard, Philip. Secret Soldiers: The Story of World War II's Heroic Army of Deception. New York: Dutton, 2002.

From publisher: "The men of the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops were recruited to become phantom warriors in a ghost army to help win the Battle of Europe." Their "mission was ... to deceive the German Army into believing that the Allies possessed more troops and material than they actually did and ... to draw enemy fire on their position to allow other units to advance free of lethal resistance.... From the use of inflatable rubber tanks and howitzers to elaborate sound effects, fake radio transmissions, special effects artillery, and other elements of stagecraft, these shadow soldiers put their lives on the line for their brother soldiers and for their country -- only to disappear from history and memory."

Handel, Michael I., ed.

1. "Strategic and Operational Deception in the Second World War." Intelligence and National Security 2, no. 3 (Jul. 1987): Entire issue.

Handel's "Introduction: Strategic and Operational Deception in Historical Perspective," 1-91, is well worth reading as a standalone article.

2. Strategic and Operational Deception in the Second World War. London: Frank Cass, 1987.

This book was first published as a special issue of the journal Intelligence and National Security 2, no. 3 (Jul. 1987) (see above)

Haswell, Jock. The Tangled Web: The Art of Tactical and Strategic Deception. Wendover: John Goodchild, 1985.

From publisher: This is the first book to analyze deception schemes and "arrive at principles, techniques and procedures." The author illustrates his discussion with examples throughout history.

Haufler, Hervie. The Spies Who Never Were: The True Story of the Nazi Spies Who Were Actually Allied Double Agents. New York: NAL, 2006.

Clark comment: This is a retelling of the activities of the British Double-Cross system. A Publisher's Weekly reviewer (from says that the author "is a natural raconteur, and his stories may serve to spark new readers' interest in deeper study of WWII counterintelligence." Cohen, Booklist (from, notes that "Haufler was a WWII cryptographer who served in both English and American code-breaking operations. He offers a fascinating account of these masters of deception."

Holt, Thaddeus.

1. The Deceivers: Allied Military Deception in the Second World War. London and New York: Scribners/Simon and Schuster, 2004.

For DKR, AFIO WIN 18.4 (31 May 2004), the author "has compiled a massive account of the many operations conducted by the Allies to deceive the Axis" during World War II. "For scholars this work is a splendid compendium of information on the art of strategic deception. For the general public, it reads like a good spy thriller." Seamon, Proceedings 130.6 (Jun. 2004), notes that this work is a "comprehensive ... narrative of the complex series of misinformation operations ... that the Allies launched to deceive Axis intelligence services."

Hastings, Telegraph (London), 13 Dec. 2004, refers to this work as a "meticulous, encyclopaedic history of wartime deception." The author "has produced a masterly study." To Hughes-Wilson, Intelligencer 14.2 (Winter-Spring 2005) [reprinted from RUSI Journal, Dec. 2004], this "must be the definitive book on deception in WW2.... It is well written, beautifully researched and indexed, and with a wealth of details and references."

To Kahn, Intelligencer 17.1 (Winter-Spring 2009), this work is "a thrilling account of a fascinating subject"; and it "deserves that overworked but rarely merited adjective: definitive." Peake, Studies 54.3 (Sep. 2010) and Intelligencer 18.1 (Fall-Winter 2010), agrees: "The Deceivers provides a historical picture of deception that is truly unique. With descriptions of hundreds of operations and impressive detail concerning all the principals, all extensively documented, Holt's book stands as the definitive work on the subject."

2. "The Deceivers." MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History 7 (Autumn 1994): 48-57.

Sexton: "A brief overview of strategic deception in World War II with an emphasis on the Pas-de-Calais and Kurile Island campaigns."

Howard, Michael E. Strategic Deception. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990. Vol. 5 of F.H. Hinsley, et. al. British Intelligence in the Second World War: Its Influence on Strategy and Operations. 5 vols. London: HMSO. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1979, 1981, 1984 (Part II, 1988), 1990, 1991. New York: Norton, 1995. [pb]

Clark comment: This is the official version of the "bodyguard of lies." The work covers Cascade, Mincemeat, and Fortitude. It is doubtful that more will ever be said broadly about World War II strategic deception than we have here, although additional details may trickle in over time. For Richardson, New Statesman & Society, 24 Aug. 1990, "Howard's history is both assured and elegant, but it really takes wings when he deals with his exotic cast of agents," including Garbo, Tricycle, and Gleam. Surveillant 2.1 calls this an "impeccably researched official publication."

Bennett, I&NS 6.1, expresses considerable dismay with what he views "in certain respects" as "a transparently inadequate, even a positively misleading, version of events." He finds that there are "many omissions," "incomplete explanations," and an "absence of essential references." The reviewer laments that "[w]e remain as ignorant as before about a crucial element in the success of Overlord -- how the Allied superiority in intelligence ... was harnessed to Fortitude in order to keep enough German divisions away from the Normandy beachhead for long enough to facilitate the landings." Nonetheless, the work "is written with such authority that it ... is likely to remain the last official word on its subject for the foreseeable future."

Isby, David C. "Double Agent's D-Day Victory." World War II (Jun. 2004). []

"A double agent code-named 'Garbo' led Adolf Hitler to believe that the Normandy invasion was just a diversion."

Kilzer, Louis C. Churchill's Deception: The Dark Secret That Destroyed Nazi Germany. New York, Simon and Schuster, 1994.

According to Cridland, Library Journal (via, the author "argues that Churchill maneuvered Hitler into attacking the USSR by using the Secret Intelligence Service to lure Rudolf Hess to England. A dramatic preface revives the generally discredited claim that the man in Spandau Prison was not Hess; yet Kilzer returns to this point only obliquely in the final chapter.... Not a necessary purchase if one's collection already contains the recent books on the Hess affair."

Leifland, Leif. "Deception Plan Graffham and Sweden: Another View." Intelligence and National Security 4, no. 2 (Apr. 1989): 295-315.

Operation Graffham was one of the deception efforts designed to mislead the German command as to where the Allies would land in Western Europe. It sought to use Swedish contacts to make the Germans believe that large-scale military operations in Norway were being planned. Comparing Swedish and British sources, the author argues that the plan failed because the Swedes did not pass along the rumors being planted with them.

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