Never give up! The story of the Englishman who died and deceived Hitler

Never give up! The story of the Englishman who died and deceived Hitler

Categories: History

In April 1943, off the coast of the Spanish town of Huelva, fishermen picked up a drowned man in the uniform of a British Marine officer. This body alone saved tens of thousands of lives of Red Army soldiers and Western Allies.

Never give up! The story of the Englishman who died and deceived Hitler

In the pockets of the uniform, they found a major's ID in the name of William Martin, letters from his father and fiancee, a photo of the girl, two tickets to the London theater, a notice from the bank about the excess of the loan for 79 pounds, a wallet, a pack of cigarettes, keys and a receipt from a jewelry store for the purchase of an engagement ring.

Never give up! The story of the Englishman who died and deceived Hitler

Major Martin's official identification card

The Spaniards suggested that the officer drowned after the splashdown of the plane flying to the British colony of Gibraltar.

A briefcase was chained to the body.

Great Britain received information about the discovery from its consul and demanded to hand over the case without opening it. The briefcase was sent to London by diplomatic mail, but before that all the documents from it were copied by German agents. Spain formally remained neutral in World War II, but the authorities sympathized with Hitler, and Spanish volunteers fought against the Soviet Union.

Never give up! The story of the Englishman who died and deceived Hitler

The landing of British troops in Sicily, July 1943

Among the documents in the briefcase was a letter from the Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the British Empire. Archibald Nye wrote to the commander of the Anglo-American army in North Africa about the intention of the Western Allies to invade Europe through Greece. In another letter to the commander of the fleet in In the Mediterranean, Admiral Mountbatten hinted at the preparation of an amphibious operation and clumsily joked about sardines.

From the battle order:

Previously, Hitler was sure that the enemy was planning to land on the Italian island of Sicily. The information from the documents found on Major Martin's person convinced him. Seven infantry and three panzer divisions were rushed to Greece. The German contingent in Sardinia was increased to 10 thousand people.

In July 1943, when the Anglo-American forces began to capture Sicily, the Germans considered it a diversionary attack and transferred 21 combat aircraft from there to strengthen the defense of Sardinia. When the Reich General Staff realized the truth, nothing could be changed. The weakened German contingent of 65 thousand soldiers could not resist the 400-thousand landing of the Western coalition.

Never give up! The story of the Englishman who died and deceived Hitler

The body of Michael Glyndwr in the image of William Martin before being sent to the coast of Spain.

From the battle order:

The operation of British intelligence was called "Mincemeat", that is,"Minced meat". Major William Martin was not in the Royal Navy. His role was played by the body of 30-year-old homeless alcoholic Michael Glyndwr. Having found a suitable deceased without external injuries and relatives, MI6 kept him in the refrigerator for three months before the operation began.

The major was given a first and last name, common among Marine Corps personnel. Before the start of the operation, William Martin was mentioned in the list of recent losses by The Times. The worn uniform, checks, bills, letters from relatives added to the image of human features.

Never give up! The story of the Englishman who died and deceived HitlerA photo of the bride from Major Martin's wallet. In fact, it is an employee of the British counterintelligence MI5

The most difficult thing was to put shoes on the frozen body and take a photo of his face on the ID card. As a result, an intelligence officer who looked like Glyndwr posed for the picture, and the legs of the corpse were warmed by electric current.

The chief hydrographer of the British Navy calculated the currents, tides, weather conditions and determined the location for the body to be thrown out. It should have been washed up on the coast of Huelva, because there was a particularly active German agent. In the specified area, "Major Martin" was delivered by a submarine. Before diving into the sea, it was stored in a barrel with dry ice.

Never give up! The story of the Englishman who died and deceived Hitler

The authors of Operation Minced Meat. From left, Naval Intelligence officers Ewen Montagu and Charles Chumley (photo: historybuff.com). Right-Rear Admiral John Henry Godfrey (photo: Imperial War Museum)

In 1939, Rear Admiral John Henry Godfrey put forward the idea of disinformation of the enemy using false documents on the body of a drowned man. There is a version that it was invented by Godfrey's assistant, Lieutenant Commander Ian Fleming, the future author of the James Bond novels

British historians confidently call "Minced Meat" the most successful disinformation operation during the Second World War.

Keywords: World War II | Germany | Nazi Germany | Nazis | Special services

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