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Military deception
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82 – Military Deception at the Strategic, Operational and Tactical level – examples from the 2nd Battle of El Alamein

This is the first part of a 2 part military deception miniseries looking at why Rommel placed his Divisions where he did and how his mobility was limited by deception.

When discussing a battle we often discuss the orbat of the forces involved in the battle, but we rarely discuss the orbat of forces that DIDN’T fight in the battle.  Those forces are the casualties of the deception battle, a key shaping activity for successful operations that can set the conditions for surprise and for Victory.

References for these two episodes.

  • Battle Winners – Alan Smith.
  • Strategic Deception in the Second World War – Michael Howard.
  • Churchill’s Wizards – The British Genius for Deception 1914 – 1945 – Nicholas Rankin.
  • Weaving the Tangled Web – Military Deception in Large-Scale Combat Operations – Christopher Rein.
  • Practice to deceive Barton Whaley – Learning Curves of Military Deception Planners – Barton Whaley.
  • The Capture of Unit 621: Lessons in Information Security Management from the North Africa Campaign – Tim Gellel.  

We review the doctrine on Surprise and Security.  Deception is often a critical partner to Surprise, but without Security, your deception measures are unlikely to be effective.

We look at the deception measures used by Rommel and the Afrika Korps and how he understood the way that Wavell fought and thought and used his deception measures to shape Wavell.

We look at the large contribution to the battle (and the war) made by the 2/24th Battalion at the battle of Tel el Eisa when they captured the German Sigint company.  Unit 621 played a significant role in Rommel’s information asymmetry.  The Axis situational awareness was often significantly better than the Allies, with Rommell often having signals in his hands before the intended recipients on the Allied side.

Amongst the captured material was a copy of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca – to find out the significance of this, you will need to listen to the next episode.

This episode is part of our series looking at decisive artillery battles in the history of Australia and is part of our 150 years of Australian Artillery commemoration. 

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89 – Artillery at 2nd El Alamein


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James Eling


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