Operation Mincemeat



Operation Mincemeat was an effective diversion capable of drawing the Axis forces away from Sicily, the place where the Allied landings in Europe would actually take place.

Operation Mincemeat was devised by British intelligence to make the Axis forces believe that the Allied commands were planning to land in Europe through an attack on Greece and Sardinia.

To mislead the enemy, the corpse of a British Officer, William Martin, was planted on the Spanish coast near the town of Huelva, made to appear as though he had died in a plane crash. The plan was conceived by Ewen Montagu, Captain of the Naval Intelligence Division, and Charles Cholmondeley, Lieutenant of the Royal Air Force. The body, in reality, belonged to a homeless Welshman, Michael Glyndwr, who had died after ingesting a rodenticide. The body was selected on purpose so that it would not be claimed by relatives, and so that the conditions of its discovery would not arouse too much suspicion as it was consistent with a death by drowning.

A series of false clues purposely placed on Glyndwr's corpse (letters, documents and personal effects, including even the photo of ‘Pam’, a fake girlfriend) corroborated the fact that Officer William Martin was carrying a whole series of information. This would have led to the assumption that the Allies were preparing a landing in Sardinia or Greece and that the attack being prepared against Sicily was in fact nothing more than a decoy to distract the Axis forces.

The body, which had been stored for three months at a temperature that was not too low (to avoid freezing) and towed by the submarine Seraph off the coast of Huelva, was found by the Guardia Civil on the Iberian coast. It was examined by the Spanish secret service, and the information was passed on to the German secret service, which considered it plausible. Thanks to the misdirection achieved with Operation Mincemeat, the Axis forces left Sicily relatively undefended, allowing Operation Husky to succeed.