Secret Soldiers: How the U.S. Twenty-Third Special Troops Fooled the Nazis

Secret Soldiers: How the U.S. Twenty-Third Special Troops Fooled the Nazis

by Paul B. Janeczko

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Overview

What do set design, sound effects, and showmanship have to do with winning World War II? Meet the Ghost Army that played a surprising role in helping to deceive — and defeat — the Nazis.

In his third book about deception during war, Paul B. Janeczko focuses his lens on World War II and the operations carried out by the Twenty-Third Headquarters Special Troops, aka the Ghost Army. This remarkable unit included actors, camouflage experts, sound engineers, painters, and set designers who used their skills to secretly and systematically replace fighting units — fooling the Nazi army into believing what their eyes and ears told them, even though the sights and sounds of tanks and war machines and troops were entirely fabricated. Follow the Twenty-Third into Europe as they play a dangerous game of enticing the German army into making battlefield mistakes by using sonic deceptions, inflatable tanks, pyrotechnics, and camouflage in more than twenty operations. From the Normandy invasion to the crossing of the Rhine River, the men of the Ghost Army — several of whom went on to become famous artists and designers after the war — played an improbable role in the Allied victory.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781536206494
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication date: 04/23/2019
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 1,143,472
Lexile: 1270L (what's this?)
File size: 21 MB
Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.
Age Range: 10 - 14 Years

About the Author

Paul B. Janeczko (1945–2019) was a poet and teacher who edited numerous award-winning poetry anthologies for young people, including A Poke in the I, A Kick in the Head, A Foot in the Mouth, and The Death of the Hat, all of which were illustrated by Chris Raschka; Firefly July, illustrated by Melissa Sweet; and The Proper Way to Meet a Hedgehog and Other How-To Poems, illustrated by Richard Jones. He also wrote Worlds Afire; Requiem: Poems of the Terezín Ghetto; Top Secret: A Handbook of Codes, Ciphers, and Secret Writing; Double Cross: Deception Techniques in War; The Dark Game: True Spy Stories from Invisible Ink to CIA Moles, a finalist for the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults; and Secret Soldiers: How the U.S. Twenty-Third Special Troops Fooled the Nazis.


Paul B. Janeczko (1945–2019) was a poet and teacher who edited numerous award-winning poetry anthologies for young people, including A Poke in the I, A Kick in the Head, A Foot in the Mouth, and The Death of the Hat, all of which were illustrated by Chris Raschka; Firefly July, illustrated by Melissa Sweet; and The Proper Way to Meet a Hedgehog and Other How-To Poems, illustrated by Richard Jones. He also wrote Worlds Afire; Requiem: Poems of the Terezín Ghetto; Top Secret: A Handbook of Codes, Ciphers, and Secret Writing; Double Cross: Deception Techniques in War; The Dark Game: True Spy Stories from Invisible Ink to CIA Moles, a finalist for the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults; and Secret Soldiers: How the U.S. Twenty-Third Special Troops Fooled the Nazis.



I didn’t start out to be a writer. I started out as a kid in New Jersey who had two major goals in life: (1) survive one more year of delivering newspapers without being attacked by Ike, the one-eyed, crazed cur that lurked in the forsythia bushes at the top of the hill; and (2) become more than a weak-hitting, third-string catcher on our sorry Little League team. I failed at both.
Had I announced at the dinner table, “Mom, Dad, I’ve decided to be a poet,” my parents—especially my mother—would have been thrilled. In truth, they would have been thrilled that I’d decided to be anything other than a Top 40 disc jockey, Edsel salesman, or bullpen catcher I constantly talked about becoming in junior high.

But at that point in my life, poetry—and school, in general, for that matter—meant no more to me than gerunds, the Belgian Congo, or George Washington’s wooden teeth. I was only “gifted” on Christmas and my birthday. I didn’t like school. I did as little homework as possible. I participated in class only under duress from the nuns. Before sixth grade, I wasn’t even much of a reader. My reading was limited largely to baseball magazines, the daily sports page—usually carefully read over a chocolate egg cream in the local candy store—and the backs of baseball cards old and new. I was captivated by those color pictures of men wearing five o’clock shadows and baggy pants.

Luckily for me, however, I discovered the Hardy Boys. Frank and Joe set me straight about the joys of reading. Somehow I made it through high school and I even found one college that would take me. That’s when my life changed. At college I was with kids who had read books I hadn’t read, knew about plays that I’d never heard of, and could talk about music, literature, and the arts. That was when I realized how much time I had wasted in high school. That’s when it dawned on me that it was time for me to start learning.

After college, where I actually did quite well, I headed to graduate school and then started teaching. I taught high-school English for twenty-two years in Ohio, Massachusetts, and Maine. I left the classroom in 1990, when my daughter was born. I’ve been fortunate to have published nearly fifty books.

I usually spend about thirty-five days each year visiting schools. Over the past twenty years I have visited hundreds of schools from Maine to Alaska and even in Europe. When I’m not visiting schools, I’m usually in my office in my home in the foothills of western Maine working on books.

Three Things You Might Not Know About Me:

1. High on my list of things-that-drive-me-nuts are socks that don’t stay up, drivers who don’t signal, and the Red Sox losing to the Yankees.

2. I walk a few miles, meditate, and do yoga nearly every day.

3. My wife wishes I would keep the door to my office shut because she thinks the room is an incredible mess. I prefer to think of it is as exhibiting creative chaos. A little chaos is good.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 The Ghost Army Is Born 5

Germans in South America 10

Beach Jumpers 18

Chapter 2 Recruitment and Training 25

Combat Engineers 42

The Army Half-Tracks 52

Chapter 3 Shipping Out … and More Waiting 57

Convoys 59

Liberty Ships 65

Chapter 4 The Twenty-Third Gets into Action 87

From Hollywood to the Battlefield: Frederic Fox 92

Artists of the 603rd; Ellsworth Kelly 108

Chapter 5 The First Big Test 121

The Red Ball Express 125

Artists of the 603rd: Victor Dowd 140

Chapter 6 A Trio of Deceptions 153

Artists of the 603rd: Arthur Singer 160

Bailey Bridges 170

Chapter 7 A Deadly Winter 175

Panzer Brigade 150 185

Artists of the 603rd: Bill Blass 196

Chapter 8 After the Battle of the Bulge 205

Trench Art 213

Artists of the 603rd: Harold Laynor 219

Chapter 9 The Final Deception 223

Artists of the 603rd: Arthur Shilstone 226

Commendation for the VIERSEN Deception 244

Epilogue 247

Source Notes 253

Bibliography 278

Image Credits 284

Index 287

Acknowledgments 295

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