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Ghost Army Insignia circa 1944. Wikimedia Commons

By- Khushi Bisht

The 23rd Headquarters Special Troops, also known as ‘The Ghost Army’ was the military deception force of the United States Army was formed on January 20, 1944. They were assigned an exclusive role of developing deceptions in order to divert the Nazi army’s attention away from the offensive. Anything the Germans heard or saw was indeed a hoax. It was a well-planned ruse, carried out by a small squad of American troops to divert the enemy’s attention.

These 1100 men were simply acting as two units of 30,000 army personnel, attempting to persuade the Germans that they would be invading across the river Rhine in one location, however, the actual mission would actually occur 10 miles away.

A dummy Sherman tank under construction by 6 Field Park Company, Royal Engineers, in the Anzio bridgehead, 29 April 1944. Wikimedia Commons

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Their goal was to confuse the enemy by using fake uniforms, arms, and sound effects in conjunction with specially built tanks that appeared realistic but were simply loaded with air. There were artists, actors, designers, and audio technicians who acted as decoys. Ellsworth Kelly, Bill Blass, Jack Masey, Arthur Singer, and Art Kane were among the artists who later went on to have very bright futures.

They built convoys of dummy tanks and vehicles out of lightweight and moveable items such as air-filled rubber and used these decoy structures, which were strengthened by bogus radio signals and special sound effects, to fool the Germans into believing the Allies were nearby.

An inflatable dummy tank, modeled after the M4 Sherman. Created during World War II. Wikimedia Commons

The Ghost Army, which was divided into three units: radio, audio, and visual deception performed several operations between May 1944 and 1945, mostly near the front lines, saving countless American lives by using a mixture of artistic and scientific skills, with the primary intention of deceiving Nazi units about the location of Allied forces in Europe. These units were very diligent. They had no weapons to defend themselves, so any error in the plan would’ve been catastrophic.

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The Ghost Army was one of the first recognized professional military forces formed primarily to deceive and manipulate the enemy. In July 1945, the Ghost Army returned to the United States, believing they would participate fully in the Japanese invasion. However, the unit was deactivated on September 15, 1945, after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as well as the Surrender of Japan.

This was, indeed, an unforgettable experience in a distant land during a world war. These men fought with a great deal of ingenuity and courage. The mission was kept top secret for decades that followed. It was in 1996 that the US government declassified the Ghost Army record. Their last mission, in the ultimate days of the war, was a vital battle in Germany with dozens of lives on the line, in which they used every tactic they could think of.


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Indian wrestler Ravi Kumar (57kg) and Deepak Punia (86kg) enjoyed fruitful outings at the Tokyo Olympic Games as they secured semifinal berths in their respective weight categories at the Makuhari Messe on Wednesday.

On the opening day of the wrestling competition, Ravi Kumar defeated Bulgaria's Georgi Vangelov 14-4 on technical superiority to reach the last-four in the men's 57kg category, while compatriot Deepak Punia overcame China's Zushen Lin 6-3 on points to advance to the semifinals.

Ravi Kumar will take on Nurislam Sanayev of Kazakhstan in the last-four, while Punia will be up against David Morris Taylor of the USA.

Earlier, Ravi Kumar had won his opening-round bout by technical superiority against Colombia's Oscar Tigreros to secure a quarterfinal spot. Competing in the Round-of-16 bout against the Colombian wrestler, the 23-year-old Ravi Kumar, who is making his Olympic debut, showed no nerves as he dominated the bout to win by technical superiority (13-2).

Ravi Kumar landed attack after attack and went 13-2 up, winning the bout by technical superiority with minutes to spare. In wrestling, building up a 10-point lead over the opponent results in a victory by technical superiority.

India's 86kg freestyle wrestler Deepak Punia showed no signs of the niggle that had forced him to pull out of the Poland Open Ranking Series in Warsaw in June, as he defeated Nigeria's Ekerekeme Agiomor on technical superiority to secure a quarterfinal berth.

He got his Olympic campaign to a fine start as he was in control from the start of the bout and hardly ever allowed his Nigerian opponent any room to maneuver his moves, finally winning with a 12-1 on technical superiority.

Punia, who had also suffered an elbow injury just before the Games, was slow at the start but came into his own as the bout progressed, inflicting takedowns at regular intervals to earn points.

The Indian wrestler eased into a 4-1 lead at the break and extended his lead comfortably in the second period.

Punia, the silver medallist from the 2019 world wrestling championships, then set up a clash with China's Lin Zushen in the quarterfinals and defeated him 6-3.