Examples of trickery in warfare


Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
Hmm, what about the way the Allies deceived the Germans about D-Day?
.....and also the Sicily Landings - the Man Who Never Was. By one of life's coincidences at our holiday in March we stayed very close to the beach that the body with the secret papers washed up on. El Portil near Huelva. 'David Martin'

EDIT - sorry Edric just seen this - "The British in WW2 planted a dead body off the coast of Spain with some fake plans and German spies fell for it hook line and sinker. "
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Tercios Espanoles

Ad Honorem
Mar 2014
Beneath a cold sun, a grey sun, a Heretic sun...
At the beginning of the Great Siege of 1565, the Portuguese knight Fra Bartolomeo Faraone and the French knight Adrien de la Riviere were captured. They must have agreed to a plan before their captures, for they both revealed, after much excruciating torture (they "broke" after molten silver was poured in their ears) the weakest point in the Knights' defences - the post of Castille. Having independent confirmation from two prisoners, Mustafa Pasha hurled his army at the point, which turned out to be the most strongly defended post in Malta.

The two were bastinadoed to death for their lie, a process which must have taken hours, if not days.
Jun 2017
One of my favorite historical figures "Black Agnes" allowed the English to believe that they were sneaking into Dunbar Castle. When it was too late for them to retreat, she had the portcullis dropped.
Feb 2019
Pennsylvania, US
St. Michaels Maryland calls itself "the Town that Fooled the British" - on account of having tricked the British during the War of 1812 into thinking the town was set on a bluff. In reality, they had just hung lanterns in the trees, drawing British marines' fire over the town itself.

In the Civil War, I know the old Sun Tzu "appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak" philosophy was used by a number of Confederates - like Erasmus Keyes, who not only lit extra campfires, but forced his men to march for hours on end, out of the concealment of the woods and back in again, in an endless circle. The Federals saw the "massive" force, heard the cheers and the drums and decided not to confront Keyes' ≥13,000 men with their 55,000. But then again, McClellan would take any excuse to not fight Confederates. :winktongue:
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Mar 2019
I guess my favorite trickeries are made by the Chinese ancient armies! For example, probably the most well know general CAO CAO has incorporated many of trickeries in his warfare. One of his most well-known trickery was the "Wide Open Gate". Which consists of two parts.

When warlord Lu Bu was attacking his rival Cao Cao. Lu Bu had 10000 troops while Cao Cao around 1000 men to defend the fort. However, the soldiers were not in the fort but in the fields collecting food. Thus there was no one to defend the fort. To ensure the delay so that troops could come back he employed a little trickery. Cao Cao ordered all available soldiers and women to defend the fort’s walls while he left the gate open as if he was staging an ambush. Lu Bu noticed a forest to the west of the fort assuming that the rest of Cao Cao’s men were hiding in the trees waiting to strike. Thus as any sane man, he decided to abandon the attack for the day and storm the fort next day. However, the trick was not yet over. Apon Lu Bu return the next day the fort appeared normal. Lu Bu assumed that the troops had returned to guard the fort. He decided it was safe to attack. However, Cao Cao had the time to set up an ambush. His troops lurked in the shadows of the nearby forest. Once the Lu Bu army of 10 000 moved to attack they fell into the trap.