The Special Troops used a variety of inflatable dummies to deceive enemy observers on the battlefields of Europe.
In the summer of 1944, a handpicked group of young American GIs landed in France to conduct a secret mission. Armed with rubber tanks, fake artillery, and more than a few tricks up their sleeves, their job was to create a traveling road show of deception on the battlefields of Europe, with the German Army as their audience.
From Normandy to the Rhine, the 1,100 men of the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops, known as the Ghost Army, conjured up phony convoys, phantom divisions, and make-believe headquarters to fool the enemy about the strength and location of American units. Recruits including future fashion designer Bill Blass and painter Ellsworth Kelly were taken right out of art and fashion design schools.
Operating dangerously close to the front lines, their deceptions saved thousands of lives, and in February 2022, President Biden signed legislation awarding this incredible unit a Congressional Gold Medal.
Documentary filmmaker Rick Beyer, co-author of The Ghost Army of World War II, tells the hard-to-believe story of the most curious group of soldiers deployed in the western theater of war, and why their story continues to resonate 80 years later.