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book review: "Double Cross"......

Monday, March 7, 2016
...by Ben MacIntyre. Sort of a niche topic, so possibly not one you are going to dash off to the bookstore to demand as soon as they open today. It's about the double agent spies who were a huge factor in the Normandy landing, and the successful invasion of France by Allied Armies to end World War II. I think it was referenced in the "Jedbergs" book in read recently, which would explain how I got interested and requested it from the library.

The players involved, who were Spanish, Polish, French with a couple of Brits who spoke impeccable German, were being paid by the Axis forces to report on the British plans for invasion somewhere along the coast of France. The Brits recruited the German spies, hence the title 'Double Cross', to feed the German secret service false information, mislead them into thinking the major invasion would be possibly in Norway or Calais instead of Normandy.  There was a phantom army created in the southwest of England, mockups of tanks, trucks, entire fake encampments designed to fool German aircraft.  Hundreds of false reports of troop movement, originating from all over from England and Scotland, spread out over a vast area to make the information more believable.

MacIntyre is a writer for The Times of London, and has done a tremendous amount of research. The book was published in 2012, which is, I think, after lots of classified documents were released. Providing a world of information that would not have previously been available. Some of the double agents kept journals or diaries, that became an excellent resource for discovering the motivations and daily habits of the many agents who played a part in this real life drama.

There was reference to a corpse that floated ashore in the Med. with falsified documents/'secret' plans that would mis-lead the Germans into relocating their forces, allowing the Allies to establish a beachhead where they were not expected to land. A soldier who looked remarkably like General Montgomery was recruited to play a part in appearing in places that would cause the Germans to believe an invasion was planned in a place the Allies would not actually send their forces.

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