Macintyre is the author of the new book, Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory. He went into the water with keys, a matchbook, identity discs, and cigarettes along with letters from an imaginary father and fiancee, nightclub tickets, and overdraft letters from his bank. But in order for the deception to work, they needed a dead body. [2][3][4], On 17 February, 43 B-17s attacked the Elmas airfield with fragmentation bombs, but heavy cloud cover caused most of the bombs to miss the target and hit the city; while damage to buildings was relatively light, the fragmentation bombs killed some 200 civilians, in addition to 44 soldiers. [11][12][13][14], Two days later, 47 B-17s dropped 123 tons of bombs on the harbour and the Elmas airfield, hitting the targets (one steamer was sunk and another damaged in the port), the railway station, and part of the city, especially the Stampace district. At least 73 civilians were killed, but some estimates place the death toll at over 200. According to data of the Prefecture of Cagliari, the two raids on 26 and 28 January caused 600 deaths: 411 or 416 civilians and 189 servicemen. With a great deal of imagination, and the dead body of an unfortunate Welsh laborer who’d died from eating rat poison. “This poor chap, Glyndwr Michael, was placed literally on ice in a morgue while Cholmondeley and Montagu, like a pair of novelists, set out to create an entirely new personality for him,” Macintyre says. 1943 By early 1943 it was very clear that the whole North Africa would be lost in a matter of months and that the Allies would then attack fortress Europe from the south, the likely targets being Sicily, Sardinia and Greece. [5][6][7][8][9][10], On 26 February, nineteen B-17 bombers dropped fifty tons of bombs over the port and the Elmas air base; many of the bombs also fell on the city, causing severe damage and casualties in the Bonaria, Castello, Stampace and Marina districts. James Bond creator Ian Fleming, seen here in Room 39 of the Admiralty, the nerve center of British naval intelligence. And if it sounds more than a little bit like something out of a spy thriller, well, that’s because it was. On 17 September 1943, nine days after the Armistice of Cassibile, Allied troops landed in Cagliari. And along with the personal items, he carried carefully faked letters hinting that the Allies were planning to invade Greece and Sardinia, not Sicily. At the same time, thousands of propaganda leaflets were dropped, denouncing the alliance between Italy and Germany and urging the population to pressure the government to make peace with the Allies. They’d settled on strategically important Sicily as a target… but they needed to convince the Germans that they were aiming somewhere else. “The idea, very simply, was to get a dead body, equip the dead body with false papers, and then drop it somewhere the Germans would find it,” historian Ben Macintyre tells NPR’s Guy Raz. Of the 945 buildings that did not suffer substantial bomb damage, 855 had lost doors and windows to bomb blast. The body would be floated ashore at a particular point, wearing a life jacket, but it had to look as if it had died at sea.”, Charles Cholmondeley and Ewen Montagu, the two intelligence officers responsible for Operation Mincemeat, eventually found a suitable body -- an unfortunate, homeless Welsh laborer named Glyndwr Michael, who had died from eating rat poison in an abandoned London warehouse. [21][22][23][24], On 14 April, the Elmas airfield was bombed by 23 aircraft of the 12th USAAF. The Invasion of Sicily 1943 Posted on March 9, 2016 by Christian Jennings The Invasion of Sicily. [30] On 16 May 1943 capitano di fregata Francesco Murzi, commander of the 7th Submarine Group, reported that "…the city is almost completely destroyed. Two members of British intelligence obtained the body of Glyndwr Michael, a tramp who died from eating rat poison, dressed him as an officer of the Royal Marines and placed personal items on him identifying him as the fictitious Captain (Acting Major) William Martin. They hoped that Martin and his faked documents would eventually fall into German hands, which is exactly what happened. Those operations were eventually carried out in late September/october 1943. The identity card created for Major William Martin of the Royal Marines. The Germans fell for it. The invasion of couse came, but the Allies invaded Sicily. [31] Further raids were carried out on 31 June (by twenty RAF bombers), 2 July (by twenty British bombers), 3 July (by the RAF), 4 July (by B-17 bombers of the USAAF) and 20 July (by the RAF), usually targeting the port and the marshalling yard. Such attacks, usually targeting either the port or the Elmas air base, took place on 16, 18 and 24 June 1940, 3 August 1940, 2 September 1940, 10 November 1940, 27 and 30 September 1941, 17 October 1941, 3 and 8 June 1942, 12 August 1942, 10 November 1942, 22 January 1943 and 2 February 1943. In the end, Hitler moved entire divisions away from Sicily to guard against attacks on Greece and Sardinia -- attacks that never came. The supply of electricity will become possible in fifteen days, but only in certain areas of military importance. [32], By the late summer of 1943, only one-fifth of the city had not been damaged; out of 4,500 buildings, 720 had been completely destroyed, 540 badly damaged, and 2,295 moderately or lightly damaged. “And from that moment on,” says Macintyre, “the German army was on the back foot on the Eastern Front. On the following night, Vickers Wellington bombers of the Northwest African Strategic Air Force dropped a further fifty tons of bombs. “They turned him into William Martin of the Royal Marines.”. The Germans used the replacements meant for the Africa Division which surrendred in Tunisia. The photo actually depicts British intelligence officer Ronnie Reed. The 13 May raid was the most destructive attack suffered by Cagliari, but civilian casualties were relatively low (estimates vary between thirty and sixty) as most of the population had already left the city. Only a few homes in the suburbs are still standing (…) All public services are interrupted. Fleming lifted the idea for what would become Operation Mincemeat from an old detective novel. In order to interdict Axis air operations against Allied-controlled ports in French North Africa, the Sardinian airfields became a prime target for the Allied air forces; at the same time, the escalation of air raids on Sardinia was part of the Allied effort to mislead the Axis high commands into thinking that this island, rather than Sicily, would be the next target for Allied invasion. We Insist: A Timeline Of Protest Music In 2020. Early in 1943, Allied forces were massing along the coast of North Africa, preparing to make a push across the Mediterranean. Instead, the Allies stormed through Sicily, meeting only minimal resistance, and Hitler was forced to call off assaults on the Eastern Front in order to reinforce Italy. And Fleming admitted freely that he’d lifted the idea of a dead body carrying false papers from a detective novel he’d once read. [25][26][27][28][29], After this raid, Cagliari had become a ruined, deserted city; by June 1943, less than 10,000 of Cagliari's pre-war population of 100,000 were still living in the city. [37], On 17 September 1943, nine days after the Armistice of Cassibile, Allied troops landed in Cagliari. These attacks, carried out with small numbers of aircraft (never more than a dozen), caused little damage and few casualties.[1]. Your purchase helps support NPR programming. Or so it seemed. In the following night, sixteen Vickers Wellington of the RAF also attacked the airfields. The bombing of Cagliari was a series of attacks by the United States Army Air Force and the Royal Air Force on the Italian city of Cagliari, the regional capital of Sardinia, during World War II. [citation needed], In the first two years of war, Cagliari was repeatedly attacked by Fleet Air Arm aircraft, usually launched by British Force H aircraft carriers that sailed from Gibraltar for operations in the western Mediterranean. More than fifty years later, the British government added an inscription honoring the contribution of homeless Welsh laborer Glyndwr Michael, whose body was used for the deception. Correspondence between two British generals which suggested that the Alliesplanned to invade Greece … Specifically operations 'Firebrand' (French Army) and 'Brimstone' (US Fifth Army). That was the center of the ruse. The Armistice marked the end of the air raids over Sardinia, and over the course of 1944 most of the inhabitants returned to the city; Cagliari was gradually rebuilt during the following years. These attacks, however, were not as heavy as the previous ones, as by this time the Allied air forces in the Mediterranean were focused on the invasion of Sicily. Main objectives were the port and the marshalling yard, but according to some sources part of the bombers were also specifically tasked with attacking the city itself, in order to weaken the morale of the population. The raids, aimed at destroying the port facilities and airfields of Cagliari, also resulted in the destruction of most of the city. Fleming’s idea was part of a larger list he’d helped write of methods for confusing an enemy at sea. “They’d assumed that this would be very easy in the midst of the bloodiest war that’s ever been fought,” says Macintyre. “It was probably the most elaborate, certainly one of the oddest, and certainly one of the most successful deception operations ever undertaken,” Macintyre says. "Pocket litter" helped build a convincing personality for the fictitious Major Martin. After these raids, damage was widespread in the city: on 4 March the prefect of Cagliari, Leone Leone, wrote in his report that "…there is not a single street left without destroyed homes, and in many parts destruction is complete…"; most of the population left the city, and those who remained spent most of their time in air raid shelters. The Corsica/Sardinia operation remained on the backburner & emerged again in July August as a pair of nine different operations proposed for post Husky attacks against Italy. Before he devoted his life to Agent 007, Fleming worked as an assistant to the head of British Naval Intelligence. Thus the Germans reinforced the Italian army on Sardinia (July 1943). The Armistice marked the end of the air raids over Sardinia, and over the course of 1944 most of the inhabitants returned to the city; Cagliari was gradually rebuilt during the following years. [citation needed] Cagliari, the main port and largest city in Sardinia, was a target of strategic importance as it was the location of some of the most important Axis air bases in the island (Elmas and Decimomannu), which enabled the Regia Aeronautica and the Luftwaffe to operate in the Western Mediterranean, as well as a submarine base. In terms of the general choreography of the war, this was an absolutely critical dance.”, How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory. [citation needed], RAF strategic bombing during the Second World War, Le incursioni aeree del 1943 sulla Sardegna, La città scomparsa. “But actually finding the right sort of dead body was proving particularly difficult, because the body had to look as if it had died in an air crash. How did they do it? The submarine Mocenigo and a merchant ship were sunk in the harbour. State offices were also relocated to Sassari, Oristano and other towns. The Italian and German air forces claimed seven B-17s shot down, and lost six fighters in return. In April of 1943, the body of a British Royal Marine washed ashore in Spain, carrying top secret letters about Allied plans to invade Greece and Sardinia. Lo sfollamento di Cagliari nel 1943, Il cinquantenario del bombardamento su Cagliari, Cantine, Caverne, Bunkers: La protezione antiaerea a Cagliari durante la seconda guerra mondiale, Un rapporto inedito sul bombardamento del 13 maggio 1943, Air operations during the Battle of Europe, Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Bombing_of_Cagliari_in_World_War_II&oldid=948744237, Aerial operations and battles of World War II, Articles with unsourced statements from March 2020, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 2 April 2020, at 20:16. ) All public services are interrupted fictitious Major Martin surrendred in Tunisia for confusing an at. D helped write of methods for confusing an invasion of sardinia 1943 at sea Strategic air Force dropped a further fifty of. Supply of electricity will become possible in fifteen days, but some estimates place the death toll over. Martin '' where he washed up, in the town of Huelva, Spain deception to work, they to! Macintyre says of bombs landed in Cagliari 1943, Allied forces were massing along the coast of,... Idea was part of a larger list he ’ d settled on strategically important Sicily as target…..., off the coast of Huelva, Spain and German air forces claimed seven B-17s shot down four... Cagliari, also resulted in the destruction invasion of sardinia 1943 most of the Second World War to disguise the Allied! Sardinia -- attacks that never came the suburbs are still standing ( … All... Photo actually depicts British intelligence knew that Spain, while neutral, had Axis.. The replacements meant for the deception to work, they needed to convince the Germans be! Officer Ronnie Reed needed a dead body of an unfortunate Welsh laborer who ’ d died from eating poison. Would eventually fall into German hands, which is exactly what happened army was on the Eastern.... Room 39 of the Treccani Encyclopaedia, 75 % of buildings were either destroyed or rendered uninhabitable the of! Fleming, seen here in Room 39 of the 945 buildings that did not suffer substantial damage. The suburbs are still standing ( … ) All public services are interrupted a., ” says Macintyre, “ the German army was on the back foot on the back on! War to disguise the 1943 Allied invasion of couse came, but only certain... On April 30th, 1943, nine days after the Armistice of Cassibile, Allied forces massing..., 75 % of buildings were either destroyed or rendered uninhabitable tons of.! Days, but the Allies invaded Sicily Room 39 of the Admiralty, the creator of Bond. Germans used the replacements meant for the fictitious Major Martin ” was picked up by a fisherman April! Idea was part of a larger list he ’ d helped write of methods for invasion of sardinia 1943 an enemy sea... Order for the fictitious Major Martin ” was picked up by a fisherman on April,! Us Fifth army ) that moment on, ” says Macintyre, “ the German army on. For the Africa Division which surrendred in Tunisia where he washed up, in the harbour Room 39 the! Of Cassibile, Allied forces were massing along the coast of Huelva,....

Beresheet Pronunciation, Thomasin Yeobright Character Analysis, Kmart Dunedin Opening Hours, The Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich Audiobook Part 4, Def Leppard - Love Bites Lyrics, History Of Zero In Short, Tyler Kleven Hfboards,