D Day - keeping it secret

Mar 2019
1,804
Kansas
Every now and then I come across a story where someone has all but unlimited resources and I am envious.
Well the Manhattan project was almost an order of magnitude worse. 130,000 people, and maybe tops a hundred of them knew what they were actually trying to achieve.
 

Belgarion

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,737
Australia
It was not kept secret as such, the Germans were well aware that the invasion was coming. It was a brilliant disinformation campaign that kept the Germans guessing about exactly where and when.
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,466
Dispargum
Though this story, bizarre as it is........is indeed true.

D-Day Daily Telegraph crossword security alarm - Wikipedia
Yes, I've heard that one. There's not much you can do to head off that kind of potential breach, even if this one probably was a false alarm. Certainly nothing could be proved against the guy. Who would ever imagine beforehand that spies would use crossword puzzles to pass secrets? You can anticipate the map problem and take precautions like installing curtains and only letting people with clearances set up the general's map etc. but there's always the thing that no can anticipate.

The reason why you have code words is so you don't have to say the real word. Would it have been any use to the Germans to know that there was Operation Overlord? Overlord = D-day would have been useful. Where and When for Overlord would have been even more useful, but knowing only Overlord is not very helpful. Same for the other code words. The code words were banied about rather carelessly because unless you know what the codewords mean, they aren't useful.
 
Mar 2019
1,804
Kansas
Yes, I've heard that one. There's not much you can do to head off that kind of potential breach, even if this one probably was a false alarm. Certainly nothing could be proved against the guy. Who would ever imagine beforehand that spies would use crossword puzzles to pass secrets? You can anticipate the map problem and take precautions like installing curtains and only letting people with clearances set up the general's map etc. but there's always the thing that no can anticipate.
.
Then there is this famous case (well in science fiction circles at least)

Deadline (science fiction story) - Wikipedia
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,466
Dispargum
Then there is this famous case (well in science fiction circles at least)

Deadline (science fiction story) - Wikipedia
Thanks for that. I hadn't heard that one. Here's one:
Richard Feynman, physicist and later noble laureate, was teaching at Princeton University during the war and got involved in the Manhattan Project. When the project reached the point where they could no longer have physicists working at different labs scattered around the country they decided to move all the physicists to Los Alamos. The army security people told the Princeton professors to not buy their train tickets direct from Princeton to Los Alamos. If anyone noticed a bunch of people suddenly traveling from Princeton to Los Alamos on one-way tickets it could be a tip off that something scientific was happening in New Mexico. Instead, the professors were told to buy a train ticket from Princeton to almost anywhere else and then buy a second ticket from there to Los Alamos. Feynman, being a natural smart ass, decided 'OK someone might notice a dozen people suddenly traveling from Princeton to Los Alamos, but no one will notice one person traveling from Princeton to Los Alamos. I'll be that one person.' So he goes down to the Princeton train station and asks to buy a train ticket to Los Alamos, New Mexico.
The guy at the ticket window says, "Oh, you must be with the university."
"How do you know that?" asks Feynman.
"I know we're shipping a lot of frieght from the university to Los Alamos."

The freight was all of the Physics Department's scientific instruments.
 

Edratman

Forum Staff
Feb 2009
6,701
Eastern PA
Well the Manhattan project was almost an order of magnitude worse. 130,000 people, and maybe tops a hundred of them knew what they were actually trying to achieve.
The Axis never really had a chance with their deficit in resources.
 

Edratman

Forum Staff
Feb 2009
6,701
Eastern PA
To be honest I think none of the other allies combined had the resources to pull off the Manhattan project either.
You are right, no one else was even close. We went to see the movie "Red Joan" two weeks ago, it was about a woman who worked for the British scientists working in England on a bomb. They were still doing theoretical calculations in 1945.
 
Sep 2012
1,633
London, centre of my world
The invasion planners also involved the British general public in keeping the Germans guessing - they asked for any postcards or photos of French beaches, holiday destinations and the like to be sent to the War Office - hiding in plain sight, so to speak.
The Germans knew an invasion was coming, but not when and where.

With fake armies in Kent, no definitive intelligence gathering operations, continuous allied bombing missions in the Pas de Calais area, even keeping the French Resistance in the dark, the planned deception was such that initially the Germans thought the invasion of Normandy was a feint, as they believed the main attack was to be in the Pas de Calais area. By the time they realised their error, the Allies were pushing inland.