Veteran given honour for tricking Nazis with 'ghost army' in WW2
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Featured Image Credit: Congressman Brian Mast/Facebook
A World War Two veteran who played a part in tricking the Nazis with a 'ghost army' has been honoured for his service.
98-year-old Manny Frockt was presented with a Congressional Gold Medal for his service in the Second World War where he had a crucial role in misdirecting Nazi forces to aid the Allied troops liberating Europe.
Officially known as the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops, the ghost army consisted of around 1,100 men armed with inflatable tanks and trucks which produced sound effects to fool the enemy.
Their job was to go around impersonating other units of the Allied forces, tricking the Nazis into thinking they knew where certain troops were.
On 1 February this year, US president Joe Biden signed into law the Ghost Army Congressional Gold Medal Act in recognition of the service Frockt and his comrades performed.
Frockt's medal was presented to him by Florida congressman and US army veteran Brian Mast, who praised the work the ghost army did feeding false intelligence into the Nazi war machine.
He said: "Their unit was intentionally placed to be observed as a real unit, to be observed as a real and viable threat meant to draw in the Axis attackers.
"And who was their backup to save them from incoming aircraft or from artillery fire or from snipers who would approach or from any other threat? It was selfless work."
Addressing Frockt as he presented him with his medal, he said: "I'm proud to be a part of that very small portion of what we owe you, sir, and I couldn't be more proud that you'll be presented with the Congressional Gold Medal."
One of Sun Tzu's famous tenets from The Art of War states that all warfare is based on deception, and the ghost army proved that to be true with their deft and daring operations against the Nazis.
With clever use of camouflage, sound effects and some very cunning trickery, the ghost army of 1,100 men were adept at tricking the Nazis into believing they were a real army numbering up to 40,000 troops.
According to the Smithsonian, the ghost army is thought to have saved between 15,000 and 30,000 lives during the Second World War where they carried out more than 20 operations.
The idea for the ghost army came from tactics British troops had employed in the North Africa campaign against Nazi forces commanded by Erwin Rommel, where they successfully fooled the Germans by disguising tanks, weapons and other supplies as trucks.
Often operating near the front lines in order to trick enemy intelligence, members of the ghost army put themselves in serious danger to misdirect the Nazis.
If their ruses had been discovered it is likely they would have faced brutal retaliation.
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