Published in The Coast Star on July 5, 2001 by Fred Carl
Those deadly tanks, the German Panzer. Nazi Field Marshall Erwin Rommel’s strategy was to use the Panzer Divisions to destroy the Allied Invasion on the French beaches.
How could the Allies confuse Field Marshal Rommel with false information?
If they could cause him to send the Panzer Divisions to the wrong beach or delay committing them on D-Day, the Allies would have a better chance of establishing a beachhead. General Rommel’s problem was he did not know what beach.
General Eisenhower and the Allied invasion planners had created a fake invasion force in northern England to fool the Nazis that the invasion would attack northern France. They had planted false information using spies.
Yet, there was still a big problem,
The Nazis had excellent radar. They had set up radar sites all along the French coast. Each radar site searched all day and night for the expected invasion fleet. How could the Allies get several thousand ships filled with troops and supplies past the unblinking eye of radar?
The reality was they could not. If they could find all the hidden radar sites, how could they possibly destroy them all? Some radar would see the invasion fleet off Normandy. The radar information would convince Field Marshall Rommel to commit his Panzer Divisions to Normandy. This would change history.
A plan was developed to fake the Nazis with radar information, too. Camp Evans engineers, work-ing with the British, the U.S. Navy, Harvard, and MIT, developed the equipment the Allies needed to pull off the fake.
First, they developed equipment to find the radar sites and pin-point them for bombing. Second, to prevent the radar that survived from detecting the invasion fleet of thousands of ships and the plans where, in reality, there were none.
On D-Day, the ghost invasion fleet appeared on radar screens far away from Normandy and was reported to General Rommel’s commanders. The bombings in different areas, the commandos cutting communication lines and the conflicting radar reports caused the Nazis to delay sending the Panzer Divisions to Normandy, allowing the Allies to establish a beachhead with enough men and supplies to hold off the Panzer counterattacks.
Also landing on D-Day were other Carp Evans designed radar sets to protect the troops on the beaches from Luftwaffe fighter attacks. Landing with and support-ing the radar were teams of radar technicians to keep the radar in good working order.
Many of these men would receive decorations from the U.S., Britain, and France for their important contributions to the liberation of Nazi-occupied Europe. Some would never return.
Radar trickery, then called radar countermeasure, now called electronic warfare, played a key role in the D-Day invasion of France. The old Marconi Hotel was the home of the secret radar countermeasures group who fought this battle of scientific engineering against the excellent Nazi scientists.
They helped the Allies win what some have called the “wizard’s war.”
As one drives past the old Marconi Hotel with its overgrown hedges and the radar laboratories behind it, the tall grass and peeling paint give little indication of the secret projects and world-changing history that occurred there.