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US phantom divisions – Normandy landing

US phantom divisions (operation Fortitude)

Preliminary missions for the Operation Overlord

These fictitious units of the Allied armies are established in accordance with the plans of Operation Fortitude. The objective is to let the adverse spies believe in the existence of a real army capable of invading the Pas-de-Calais. This resulted in the retention of nearly 150,000 German soldiers in this area for several weeks after the disembarkation of June 6, 1944. The composition of this army, which existed as such only on paper.


1st Army Group (FUSAG)
Badge: Washington AG: 7/03/44, then ASF 13/03/44 ; ACS G1: 21/03/44 ; Drawing which officially appears on 13/04/44, approved from 28/03/44 to 14/07/44.
Unit belonging to Operation Fortitude South and Fortitude South II.

Fortitude South initial composition:
Canadian First Army
Third US Army

Then Fortitude South II:
Fourteenth Army (US)
Ninth Army (US)
Fourth Army (GB)

with support elements from US Army.

Commanded by generals Patton, McNair and DeWitt.

Its headquarters (HQ) is located in Wentworth near Ascott.
Planned to land in the Pas-de-Calais and rush to Antwerp and Brussels.
In August 1944, the 9th and 14th Armies were detached and attached as a reserve to the SHAEF while the First Allied Airborne Army (which actually exists but part of its components are fictitious) is assigned to the FUSAG.
The FUSAG was then used to make the Germans believe in an allied air operation in the sector of Kiel-Bremen in September 1944, at the same time as Operation Market Garden. It was dissolved in October 44.

2nd Army Group (SUSAG)
No badge.
Assigned to the SHAEF for Fortitude South II to replace the FUSAG, when it was actually activated in Normandy, but was never deployed.

Twelfth Army (12th)
No badge.
Fictitious unit assigned to the SHAEF but never “activated”.

Fourteenth Army (14th)
Badge: approved on 07/07/44. Authorized by the Joint Security Control of 03/08/44, drawing at the US Army Institute of Heraldry on 30/06/45.
Belonging to the Fortitude South II plan, element of the FUSAG, composed of the XXXIII & XXXVII Corps, 9th and 21st Airborne Divisions and support elements of the Army.

Led by General J. P. Lucas.

Land in Liverpool between May and June 1944 (HQ in Mobberly, Cheshire) and then went to East Anglia in Little Waltham in Essex between 11 and 21 July. Planned to train the central and eastern forces of the Pas-de-Calais invasion, and conduct airborne operations.
Detached and placed in strategic reserve of the SHAEF in August 44. Moves then in the sector of Southampton Brighton, the HQ is located in Fareham near Portsmouth at the end of August 1944. Goes to France in September 44, leaves its previous assignments with the FUSAG And SHAEF.
This army would consist of convicts, released from prisons in the United States and enrolled in special units. Some brigades were made up of unscrupulous killers and gangsters destined to fight the Japanese, but were eventually sent to England. They are ordered to clean without taking prisoners.
No more double agent will mention this army after his arrival in France. It was dissolved in October.
In March 1945, Agent “Garbo” reported that the 14th Army had been dissolved and most of its men had been used to cover Allied losses during the fighting in the Ardennes.

XXX Corps
No badge.
Fictitious unit allocated to the SHAEF. To be present in England as part of Operation Fortitude South II but “never deployed”.

XXXIII Corps
Badge: approved on 07/07/44. Authorized by Joint Security Control, drawing at the US Army Institute of Heraldry on 30/06/45.
Element of Fortitude South II. Belongs to the 14th Army, consisting of the 11th and 48th Infantry and 25th Armd Divisions (fictitious), plus additional units.
Arrived in England in June 1944, are HQ is at Marbury in Cheshire. Goes to Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk in July. Planned to take part in the second wave of assault in the Pas-de-Calais. Then went to Romsey near Southampton in August 1944. The 25th Armd Div. Was transferred to the XXXVII Corps in September, and was replaced by the 17th Infantry Division in early October. Suppressed in October and its units used as a replacement source.

XXXVII Corps
No badge.
Element of Fortitude South II. Belongs to the 14th Army; Arrives in England between May and June 1944. His HQ is at Great Baddow, Chelmsford, Essex. Composed of the 17th and 59th Infantry Divisions plus the additional units of the Corps.
Originally assigned to THUSA, then transferred to the 14th Army mid-July1944. Planned to be in the first wave of assault in the Pas-de-Calais. Moves to Worthing, Sussex at the end of August 1944, his headquarters is in Goring. The 25th Armd Div. Arrives in September, while the 17th inf. Div. Is transferred to the XXXIII Corps in October. Released from his assignment with the FUSAG in September, leaves Southampton destination France, with the 59th inf. And 25th Armd. At the end of September, then disappears from traffic.

XXXVIII Corps
No badge.
Fictitious unit allocated to SHAEF for Operation Fortitude South II, “never deployed”.

XXXIX Corps
No badge.
Fictitious unit allocated to the SHAEF. To be present in England as part of Operation Fortitude South II but “never deployed”.

9th Airborne Division
Badge: approved on 03/08/44.
Element of Fortitude South II, arrives in England on an unknown date, assigned to the SHAEF in April 1944. Belongs to the 14th Army. Consisting of the 196th and 199th Infantry Glider Regiment, 523rd Infantry Parachute Regiment plus various elements. Its headquarters are in Leicester, it is scheduled to jump in the Pas-de-Calais. Under the direct command of FUSAG in mid-August 44, and then transferred to the First Allied Airborne Army, used in the deception operation on Kiel-Bremen in September. Assigned to the XVII Airborne Corps, fictitious.
At the end of November, the information that the 9th and 21st Airborne divisions were merged to form the 13th Airborne Division (which really exists and is already in France) is broadcast.

11th Infantry Division
Badge: authorized for the port on 05/07/44, drawing at the US Army Institute of Heraldry of 30/06/45.
Originally, it was to be named 11th Motorized Division and serve in England. It became an infantry division under Fortitude South II. Arrived in June 1944. Serves within the XXXIII Corps, composed of the 178th, 352d and 392d Inf Regts, plus divisional elements. “Brutus” (double agent) signals to the Germans that she is well trained.
Located in the area of Northwich Cheshire, its headquarters is at Delamere house. It moves to Burry St Edmunds in Suffolk in mid-July (area previously occupied by the real 4th Armd Division). It must be a reserve element for the landing in the Pas-de-Calais. Arrives in Winchester in August, then Abergavenny in Wales in October.

14th Infantry Division
Badge: authorized by Joint Security Control 07/08/44, drawing at the US Army Institute of Heraldry.
Originally, it was to be named 14th Motorized Division and serve in England. It became an infantry division under Fortitude South II. But it is never “deployed”.

15th Infantry Division
No badge.
Originally, it was to be named 15th Motorized Division, to serve in England becomes an Infantry Division allocated to the SHAEF for Fortitude South II. But it is never “deployed”.

15th Armored Division
Insignia: Equivalent to armored units with the number 15. This division sees its patch being produced while it is not yet activated in the US, and it will never actually be activated. Authorized by Joint Security Control, undated.
Allocated to the North African theater then to the SHAEF for Fortitude South II, but never “deployed”.

17th Infantry Division
Badge: authorized by Joint Security Control on 03/08/44, drawing at the US Army Institute of Heraldry on 30/07/45.
Originally it was to be named 17th Motorized Division, to serve in England, then became an infantry division allocated to the SHAEF under Fortitude South II. Element belonging to the XXXVII Corps then to the XXXIII Corps, it is composed of the 293rd, 336th and 375th Inf Regts, in addition to divisional elements; Arrives in England in June 1944, his HQ is in Birmingham. Goes to Hatfield Peverel, Essex in July. Part of Naval Force “N” (fictitious) that trains in Southampton and Studland. Planned to be in the first wave of assault on the Pas-de-Calais. Moves to Brighton Burgess Hill in August, assigned to the XXXIII Corps in October. Goes to Wales in October. Disbandment in early 1945.

19th Infantry Division
No badge.
Allocated to SHAEF for Fortitude South II, but never “deployed”.
Composed of 572d, 573rd, 578th Inf Regts and divisional elements.

21st Infantry Division
No badge.
Originally, it was to be named 21st Motorized Division and served in England but became an infantry division allocated to the SHAEF as part of Fortitude South II. It is never “deployed”.

21st Airborne Division
Badge: authorized on 03/08/44, Badge: authorized by Joint Security Control, drawing at the US Army Institute of Heraldry on 30/06/45.
Element of Fortitude South II, consisting of the 277th and 278th GIR and 521st PIR, in addition to divisional elements. Belongs to the 14th Army, his HQ is at Fulbeck in Lincolnshire. Scheduled to jump on the Pas-de-Calais. Under the direct command of FUSAG in August and transferred to the First Allied Airborne Army, she participated in the fake airborne operation on Kiel-Bremen in September. Assigned to the XVII Airborne Corps (fictitious). It merged with the 9th Airborne Division before becoming the 13th Airborne Division that already exists.

23rd Infantry Division
No badge.
Assigned to the Middle East in 1942, never deployed in the order of battle. Then allocated to the SHAEF, but again it is never deployed.

25th Armored Division
Element of Fortitude South II, belongs to the XXXIII, then to the XXXVII Corps, activated at Cp Pine New York in 1941. Composed of 72nd, 73rd, 74th Tk Bns and 498th, 499th, 500th Armd. Inf. Bns, in addition to support troops. Arriving in England in June 1944, Her HQ is in Wincanton in Somerset, then travels to East Dereham in Norfolk in July. Planned to be in the second wave of assault in the Pas-de-Calais. Goes to Tidworth in Hampshire in August, then goes under the control of the XXXVII Corps in September. Embark from Southampton to France in early October. No longer exists at issue.

39th Armored Division
Allocated to the North African theater in 1942, then to the SHAEF for Fortitude South II, but never “deployed” in the order of battle.

47th Infantry Division
No badge.
Allocated to the North African theater in 1942, then to the SHAEF for Fortitude South II, but never “deployed” in the order of battle.

48th Infantry Division
Badge: authorized by Joint Security Control of 03/08/44, drawing at the US Army Institute of Heraldry on 16/02/49.
Element of Fortitude South II, belongs to the XXXIII Corps, formed in 1942 at Clatsop camp in Oregon, participates in maneuvers and is sent to the Desert Training Center, serving along the Alcan Highway. Consisting of the 80th, 95th and 146th Inf Regts, in addition to divisional support units.
Arriving in England in June 1944, “Brutus” (double agent) reported to the Germans that it was well trained.
His HQ is in Newcastle-Under-Lyme in Staffordshire. Assigned to the XXXIII Corps in early July, it moves in July to Woodbridge Suffolk. Planned to be in reserve during the assault on the Pas-de-Calais. Goes to Brockenhurst Hampshire in August. Beginning training the airborne troops in August, its personnel is attached to the 21st Airborne Division for training. It continued its training until the autumn of 1944. Then it passed under the control of the British Base Section in October. Then travels to Dundee in Scotland at the beginning of December and continues to train airborne. Disbanded in January 1945, it cadres were sent back to the United States to form special troops.
An actual USNG 48th I.D. will be set up after the war but with a different badge.

55th Infantry Division
Badge: authorized by Joint Security Control of 03/08/44, drawing at the US Army Institute of Heraldry on 30/06/45.
Assigned to Fortitude North, fictitiously settled in Iceland from August to October 1943 replacing the 5th Infantry Division (real) who returned to England. The German secret services will take these changes into account in the Allied battle order until February 1944.
Detached to the VII British Corps (fictitious) in March 1944, it is composed of the 78th, 83rd and 96th Inf Regts in addition to support troops. It is reinforced by the 7th, 9th and 10th Ranger Bns (fictitious) in April 1944.
This set must be the spearhead on the front of Navirk in Norway after the landing of the 52d (Lowland) Div. But could never be established because of the remoteness of Norway and the impossibility of making believe this deceit to the Germans. From then on it left the VII Corps in July. With the 48th Infantry Division (real) and the 90th Infantry Division (British), it prepares the occupation of the south of Norway. It left Iceland during the winter of 1944-1945 and disappeared from the scene of fictitious operations.

59th Infantry Division
Badge: authorized on 03/08/44. Badge: authorized by Joint Security Control, drawing at the US Army Institute of Heraldry on 31/08/49.
Element of Fortitude South II activated at Fort Custer in Michigan in 1942. She participated in various maneuvers in Tennessee and Minnesota and then went to the Desert Training Center. She arrived in England in May 1944, her headquarters in Harwich. It is composed of the 94th, 139th and 171st Inf. Regts in addition to divisional support troops. Originally, it must replace the 35th ID (real) within the THUSA. It belongs to the XXXVII Corps. His HQ is then in Ipswich. It is associated with the fictitious naval force “F” and carries out three amphibious training operations in July. Planned to be in the first wave during the assault on the Pas-de-Calais, it moves to Rowlands Castle in Hampshire in August. Embarked at Southampton towards France at the end of September.

112th Infantry Division
No badge.
Assigned to the SHAEF but never “deployed”.

7th Ranger Battalion
Deployed in Iceland as part of Operation Fortitude North in March 1944. Element of the VII British Corps.

8th Ranger Battalion
Deployed in Iceland as part of Operation Fortitude North in March 1944, but never employed.

9th Ranger Battalion
Deployed in Iceland as part of Operation Fortitude North in March 1944. Element of the VII British Corps.

10th Ranger Battalion
Deployed in Iceland as part of Operation Fortitude North in March 1944. Element of the VII British Corps.

11th Ranger Battalion
Deployed in Iceland as part of Operation Fortitude North in March 1944, but never employed.

VIII TAC
No badge.
Unit obtained for the SHAEF at its request in July 1944, but never “employed” (fictitiously led by General J. Auten).

 

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