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The Oxford Companion to World War II
I. C. B. DearI. C. B. Dear

M. R. D. Foot


was the codename for a British deception operation which originated from two members of the XX-committee.

On 30 April 1943 a British submarine dumped a body off the Spanish coast near Huelva, where the German consul was known to be an efficient spy. The supposed victim of an air crash, it was dressed as a Royal Marines officer with the fictitious name of Major Martin. Attached to its wrist was an attaché case carrying, among other papers, a letter to General Alexander which conveyed the impression that an invasion of Greece was imminent and that Sicily—the Allies' real objective—was the cover plan for another operation. The cadaver was handed over to the British consul within hours of its discovery, but the attaché case was not returned for some days, and tests in London revealed that the letter had been opened. On 14 MayULTRA intelligence revealed that the Germans had taken the bait and Churchill, who was attending the TRIDENT conference in Washington, received a simple message: ‘MINCEMEAT swallowed whole.’

MINCEMEAT certainly coincided with Hitler's own fears about landings in the Balkans, and reinforcements were sent there and to Sardinia, troops who could have been used to defend Sicily at the start of the Sicilian campaign.


Montagu, E., The Man Who Never Was (London, 1953).Find this resource:

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