The Army That Never Was

Taylor Downing


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Icon Books
23 May 2024
ISBN: 9781837731572
320 pages

From the publisher

On 29 May 1944 General George S. Patton gave a speech in the south-east of England to the men of his Army in which he spoke of the American desire to win and of how losing was hateful to Americans. As he rose to his crescendo, he said how much he ‘pitied those sons of bitches we are going up against – by God, I do’. On that same day General Bernard Montgomery gave a calmer speech in Somerset to the men of his Army about how much rested on the upcoming invasion of northern France and how vital their role was in achieving victory.

Apart from the very different tones of the speeches reflecting the opposite character of the two Army commanders, there was another big difference. Montgomery was speaking to men who in a little over a week would be splashing ashore on the beaches of Normandy. Patton was addressing an Army that didn’t exist.

The Army That Never Was tells the story of the biggest deception operation of the Second World War – the plan to mislead the Germans into thinking that the invasion of Europe would come at the Pas de Calais, by inventing an entirely fake Army group in the south-east of England.

Full of fascinating characters from the US, Britain and Germany, this compelling and propulsive narrative explores one of the most remarkable stories of the Second World War.