Assault on Fortress Europe
Military Deception and Operation Fortitude South 


[Source: “Assault on Fortress Europe
Military Deception and Operation Fortitude South”, Army University Press, Military Review,  September 2020.]



On 6 June 1944, the Allied forces had amassed close to six thousand warships, landing craft, and transports off the coast of Normandy, which would disembark 180,000 troops by the end of the day and 875,000 troops by the end of the month to conduct the largest seaborne invasion in history.1 The Nazis expected an attack on the European continent, and they had already prepared elaborate defenses known as the Atlantic Wall. Despite this, on 6 June, one of the prominent Nazi generals in charge of the Atlantic Wall, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, was on his way back to Germany. Adolf Hitler was asleep and his staff did not want to wake him because they did not believe this landing could be the main assault on Europe. How could a military operation of this size and scale remain a complete surprise to the Nazi leadership?


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1. Antony Beevor, D-Day: The Battle for Normandy (New York: Viking, 2009), 74.

 

About the Author
Lt. Jason Carminati, U.S. Navy, is a Navy SEAL pursuing an MS in defense analysis with a specialty in irregular warfare at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. He holds a BS in physics from the U.S. Naval Academy and served with east coast and gulf coast-based naval special warfare units. He has deployed in support of U.S. Africa Command, U.S. European Command, and U.S. Southern Command operations.