[LMB] OT: Re: A military question

Paula Lieberman paal at gis.net
Thu Sep 22 16:09:55 BST 2011

D-Day was a -massive- operation.  My mother was enlisted in the Navy working 
in the dispatch office at the Navy yard in Boston at the time, and a few 
years before her death started talking about it, as something that it having 
been 50 years in the past, was no longer anything that national security 
anymore had the faintest need for her to not talk about.  She said that 
everyone in the office knew something was in progress to happen, weeks 
before D-Day, due to the level of much higher communications message traffic 
and messages to move fleets around, heading to Europe.  She said said she 
didn't know -how- the messages are getting to the ships and wasn't curious 
about it (turned out that there is a ocean layer that the message 
propagation occurred in, and that was kept secret for something like 50 

My father narrowly avoided being one of the people who landed on Omaha 
Beach, he started out as one of a group of people from Woburn, Massachusetts 
or therebouts who signed up together, and gothauled by railroaded down south 
to then-Camp Rucker, Alabama, to  become part of an engineer battalion or 
some such.  However, an officer found out that he was significantly hearing 
impaired and dependent on a heaering aidwhen he was being treated for poison 
ivy, and demanded he be transferred out of the unit....

One of my father's brothers was one of the psychologists in the OSS 
apparently in the dirty psychological tricks division, the other served as a 
medic and was the guy sticking the hypodermic needle full of penicillin into 
people's rupms  in a field hospital at the Battle of the Bulge, 20,000 
patients' worth....

-----Original Message----- 
From: Harimad
Sent: Thursday, September 22, 2011 9:25 AM
To: Discussion of the works of Lois McMaster Bujold.
Subject: [LMB] OT: Re: A military question

TZ> --- On Mon, 9/5/11, Tony Zbaraschuk> <tonyz at eskimo.com> wrote:
TZ> While the Allied deception effort before D-Day was immense
TZ> and multifaceted (fake airfields and landing craft, deceptive
TZ> radio transmissions, etc.), the most important part of it
TZ> was probably the double agents in England feeding false
TZ> information to the Nazis.

B> --- On Thu, 9/22/11, BOB!! <robtjwms at yahoo.com> wrote:
B> The double agents were useful, but most military
B> intelligence people will disagree with the level of
B> importance you've attributed to them.  Military
B> intelligence generally considers their own observations (and
B> those of friendly forces) to be more reliable than
B> information from "traitors & turncoats".

I have found this to be true as well.  Not to say that there's no place for 
disinformation.  The morning of D-Day, the Brits had double agents tell 
Hitler's intelligence group that Normandy was a feint to distract the Nazis 
from the real invasion at Calais.  Believing this, the Nazis kept their 
extra forces near Calais for a while, depriving the Nazi Normandy forces the 
backup they needed.

B> (note to those who haven't read about the subject: every
B> single spy that the Germans attempted to infiltrate into
B> the UK during WWII was caught & turned into a double agent
B> & only fed the Germans information that the Brits wanted
B> them to pass)

Specifically, this was true for the period after the Germans kicked the 
British forces out of continental Europe, and before D-Day.  During the 
period Britain was sufficiently isolated that it was practically impossible 
to slip into the country, gather information, and regularly meet one's 
handler.  Before and after there was too much normal daily contact between 
Brits and others, for British intelligence to identify and control such 

If you're interested in this operation, I highly recommend JC Masterman's 
"The Double-Cross System."  Masterman was chairman of the Twenty Committee 
that ran the operation.  In 1945 he wrote a report on it: successes, 
failures, lessons learned.  It was publicly published in 1972 and is 
absolutely fantastic (although the writing style is outdated).

- Harimad

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