Dummies on the British Home Front: Decoys that Protected the UK during World War II

UNCA Author/Contributor (non-UNCA co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Jane Barnett_Lawrence (Creator)
University of North Carolina Asheville (UNCA )
Web Site: http://library.unca.edu/
Tracey Rizzo

Abstract: World War II as a global conflict was unprecedented, particularly in the major innovations in warfare. Military historians often focus on the evolution of weapons in war. However, in more recent wars, science, art, and non-lethal technology play significant roles. Turner's decoys are an integral but overlooked innovation that set World War II apart from previous wars. The Royal Air Force tasked Colonel John Turner with creating decoys to trick the German Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain. The goal was to build brightly lit sites around major cities so that when German bombers flew over they would mistake the decoys for the rue target, and only bomb the decoys. Creating over one thousand convincing dummy sites across Britain required much effort and expertise. Sound City Studios, a major part of the film industry, then and now, created the dummy planes, and other props. Evidence of the decoys' ingenuity is seen in primary sources such as memoirs and interviews from the decoy men, government documents, and current research on the decoys. This paper adds to the discussion by explaining that Turner's decoys saved thousands of civilian lives and were a piece of the larger incorporation of non-lethal tactics in war.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2016

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