Operation Ironside was a Second World War military deception undertaken by the Allies in 1944. It formed part of Operation Bodyguard, a broad strategic deception plan instigated to help cover the June 1944 invasion of Normandy. There is no indication that the operation was successful in convincing the Germans of imminent Allied plans to invade the Bay of Biscay.
About Operation Ironside in brief
Operation Ironside was a Second World War military deception undertaken by the Allies in 1944. It formed part of Operation Bodyguard, a broad strategic deception plan instigated to help cover the June 1944 invasion of Normandy. The plan was communicated to the Germans via double agents between May and June 1944. There is no indication that the operation was successful in convincing the Germans of imminent Allied plans to invade the Bay of Biscay. After the operation closed, at the end of June 1944, the threat of invasion from the United States was informally kept alive. In mid-July the invasion story was replaced with a supposed Allied plan to increase French resistance in the Bordeaux region to tie up German forces. Most of Ironsid II was ignored by the Germans, whose interest had turned away from the region. In January 1944, Allied naval and air units undertook anti-invasion exercises in the area. The next month, the Allies intercepted communications indicating that German commanders were concerned by the possibility of landings in the Bay. of Biscoe. According to the storyline, Allied forces would land in the region ten days following D-Day.
The target was supposed to be the mouth of the Gironde estuary, with a landing site at Royan. At the first stage of the fictional invasion, an American force based out of the East Coast of France would stage a bridgehead before advancing to the Mediterranean coast of France. This force would spend around twelve days establishing a. bridgehead. It was supposedly part of an invasion of the Mediterranean. The story included an initial two-division assault, using Overlord formations, staged out. of the United Kingdom. This would then be followed up with six divisions sailing from the east coast of the U.S. to meet advancing formations. The goal was to tie down the 17th SS and 11th Panzer divisions deployed in the south of France by threatening other targets. Unlike other Bodyguard deceptions, the plan was put across entirely by double agents without support by physical deception. On the other hand, Allied planners attributed the delay of a panzer division moving to Normandy in part to the deception. It is believed that the Germans believed the Allies would also land in southern France at this time. In fact, this was not the case.