The decisive battle which was fought on June 6th 1944 at 0600hrs went down in history as the largest amphibious military assault, famously known as the ‘D-Day’ or the Normandy Landings. Normandy Landing has been called the beginning of the end of war in Europe. It was condemned as “operation overload”. Allied forces conducted a joint battle in liberating the five beaches from the Germans. The sectors that allied forces attacked are Utah and Omaha beach sector by US troops, Gold and Sword beach sector by British troops, Juno beach sector by Canadian Troops.
Use of Deception
Sun Tzu States“All warfare is based on deception”
The leaders of the allied forces decided to conduct the cross channel Hitlers fortress in Europe in the first half of 1944. To support the invasion they decided to implement a strategic deception plan under the cover name ‘bodyguard’. The role of this was to deceive Hitler and his commanders about the location and the timing of allied offensive actions. Under the bodyguard umbrella, operation Fortitude was initiated which was specifically designed for the Normandy landings. Fortitude was divided into two sections North and South. Fortitude plans involve the creation of fake armies (based in the south of England) which threatened Norway (Fortitude North) and Pas de Calais the make believe land site (Fortitude South). The operation included fake transmissions, inflatable tanks, vehicles and planes painted on them was 3rd Army which never existed in reality. This plan was one of the most successful operations of the war. Despite all efforts by the allied forces the Germans expected an allied invasion but did not know where and when it would happen. Operation Fortitude did just that.
Use of Spies and Foreknowledge
Sun Tzu states “It Is essential to seek out enemy agents who have come to spy against you and bribe them to serve you”
In world war two, the British used double agents to spy on the Germans. And the ideal people were the spies sent by the Germans to spy against the allies to be ‘turned’ against Germans and to feed them with misinformation. The success of this was the program that was run by the Mi5 (British intelligence) code named ‘double cross’. It is stated that the British used almost four dozen of enemy spies to work against the Germans who were primarily followers of Germany. The British Secret Service (SIS) managed to infiltrate a double agent into the German intelligence apparatus. Agent Garbo (Juan Pujol Garcia) code named ‘Garpo’ passed false intelligence to the Germans leading them to believe the invasion would come in the Pas de Calais region of France. And ‘Normandy’ has been just a deception by the allies or a diversion.
Sun Tzu States “The way a wise general can achieve greatness beyond ordinary men is through foreknowledge”
During world war two Germans passed information or intelligence through Enigma, an Electro Mechanical rotor cipher machine used for encrypting and decrypting messages .Which they developed specially for the purpose of passing secret messages. The code was nearly unbreakable and was believed that it could never be decoded or broken. However during the war British code breakers were able to break it and decrypted thousands of messages. The intelligence gathered from this source code named ‘Ultra’ by the British was a significant aid to the allied side during the war . It is through Ultra that the allies confirmed that the Germans never anticipated Normandy Landings and the Germans had thought that the main invasion was to be Pas de Calais. Unfortunately for the Nazi Germans the allies were actually reading their every ‘fortune’.
Fighting on Death Ground
Sun Tzu states, “if you put your army in the face of certain death where there is no escape, they will not flee or be afraid, in this ‘do or die’ mental state there is nothing they can’t achieve”
A highly planned attack may fail if the momentum is lost. After months of deception and preparation US General Dwight D. Eisenhower launches US troops to Normandy. Allies landed around 156,000 troops in Normandy. The American forces landed numbered 73,000- 23,250 on Utah Beach, 34,250 on Omaha Beach, and 15,500 airborne troops. In the British and Canadian sector, 83,115 troops were landed (61,715 of them British), 24,970 on Gold Beach, 21,400 on Juno Beach, 28,845 on Sword Beach, and 7900 airborne troops. The aircrafts and the ships coordinated aerial assaults on the beach as the landing crafts approached to soften the German defense. The allied troops fought bravely in the challenging obstacle filled beaches. With soaked gear and equipments almost to rubbing distance from one soldier to another they fought tirelessly The troops had no option but to fight and no option of turning back, Which resulted in victory. The allied forces were victorious by fighting together and never giving up.
A war is won by great strategy. The ‘operation overload’ is a perfect example of such strategy. The allied invading forces used deception during planning phase and executed it through spies and misinformation. They made the enemy believe what was evitable and had perfect operational security. The allied forces were made to ‘fight or die’ situation which proved victorious. The effort put up for such a landing is beyond imagination made possible.
But surprisingly one man could have predicted this victory. His strategy was practiced and put to the test in modern warfare, which proved timeless results. Sun Tzu the great strategist’s philosophy is no doubt extremely influential in modern sports, management and in war.
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