By Kevin M. Hymel
Deception is a vital tool in war. During World War II, the British developed a dummy tank to fool enemy surveillance planes into thinking they had more tanks than they needed, were strong where they were weak, and were preparing to attack where they were not.
Made of rubber, the tank could be assembled and inflated in 20 minutes. The tank pictured was assembled in Anzio, Italy, in March 1944, where Allied forces tried to break out of their beachhead. In England, similar armies of fake tanks were being inflated in the fields of East Anglia, on Britain’s southeast coast. These tanks were part of an elaborate deception, code named Operation Fortitude, that convinced Adolf Hitler the invasion of France would come at the Pas-de-Calais, far from the Normandy beaches. These rubber-and-air tanks did their job and contributed to Allied victory.