Quicksilver IV: The Real Operation Fortitude
Air War College School of Advanced Air and Space Studies Maxwell AFB United States
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This study comprises an analysis of the air plan for Operation Fortitude, the deception plan covering the invasion of Normandy in 1944. The author describes the foundations of Operation Fortitude by briefly describing the events leading up to the invasion of western Europe and the decisions made regarding the need for a deception operation. Next, the writer describes in detail Operation Fortitude and its sub-plans, Operations Quicksilver I-IV, and shows how all six sub-plans fit into the overall deception campaign. Next, the author discusses the Operation Fortitude air plan, describing the character of air operations in support of the deception, including an analysis of the level of effort expended on the deception and the types of targets the Allies struck. Next, the author analyzes the location and timing of the targets and assesses how they assisted both the deception and the Allied invasion. The author concludes by summing up the unique characteristics of the Operation Fortitude air plan. First, unlike other aspects of Operation Fortitude, the air campaign struck actual military targets with real bombs, and comprised as much as 50 percent of the total Allied bombing effort prior to the invasion. Whereas the spy network and fake wireless transmissions could have been exposed for the sham that they were, the bombing campaign stood was very real and was not readily exposed as a deception. Finally, the author includes an appendix with a transcription of the entire Operation Neptune air plan, which includes the Operation Fortitude targets.