Operation Overlord - Bogus Maps

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by Packhow75, Apr 6, 2010.

  1. Packhow75

    Packhow75 Senior Member

    Am sure you've all seen this article from "American Surveyor" about Operation Overlord "Bogus Maps".

    http://www.theamericansurveyor.com/PDF/TheAmericanSurveyor_D-DayMapping_June2005.pdf

    With the exception of this article and another source, I'm not aware of any other references to these maps... is anyone else? It seems such a good idea, but am yet to meet anyone who recalls training with one of these Bogus Maps.

    Would be interested in knowing if anyone here has any experience with any maps of this nature.

    Cheers

    Tim
     
  2. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    I have seen references to such maps in some narratives but can't lay my hands on them. Then I found this in the Army Quarterly:

    For the assault briefing of British units a special series of maps was issued, carrying a defence overprint of of the enemy dispositions, defence works, obstacles, etc., but with fictitious place-names and other security precautions so that, even at that late stage, the site of the coming assault would not be known.

    It's likely that these were disposed of and replaced with proper maps at the earliest opportunity, maybe at sea, so few have survived.
     
  3. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Interesting... I have the D day battle map for the Sword Beach area. And the map for D plus One......

    A mate had them under his jerkin. as wounded,and brought back to the UK The ones I have are photo copies..But after 65 years TATTY!

    But everything is on them, including where the German officers stabled their horses.Sapper
     
  4. ramacal

    ramacal 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    There is a map file at the National Archives marked Bogus relating to Op Neptune. Would be interesting to have a look at it.

    MPII 1/87/7

    Scope and content'1:25,000 Bogus Map Sheet 3 Showing B.M.A. Layout', headed 'Cairo'; showing area of beach between St Aubyn and the Orne estuary. Stamped: 'Neptune BIGOT Top Secret Copy N o...'. Apparently based on GSGS 4347, edition of July 1943, (overprinted on SA/6/283). Numbered sections on the map are not explained. 2 parts of maps joined to form this sheet
     
  5. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    Sapper: out of interest, are the placenames on them real or coded?
     
  6. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Real Mate
     
  7. Packhow75

    Packhow75 Senior Member

    The Bogus Maps all have the correct topography and real names... however the Ouistreham is called "Oslo"... Ranville is marked as "Georgetown"... etc...

    Following the same format described in the post by Ramacal, the map discussed in the American Surveyor article is "1:25,000 Bogus Map Sheet 8 Showing B.M.A. Layout", headed "Oslo"; showing part of Ouistreham Town and the Mounths of the Orne River and Caen Canal. Stamped: "Neptune BIGOT Top Secret Copy N o..." Based on ...., "Edition of August 1943", (overprinted on SA/6/290).

    I was fortunate enough to acquire an original and very grubby copy of the Oslo map from the family an RASC driver. They told me he'd been issued it to use as a road map to get around that part of France. Clearly a case of recycling at its best - after all, it didnt take a lot of effort for him to remember the real name of the place he was going to. So, bearing this in mind, I would imagine that most (if not all) of these "training maps" were issued to troops needing road maps of the area. However, these maps have no intelligence or defence overlay print and therefore are less likely to have been issued to assault troops.

    Am definitely interested in seeing the "Cairo" map in the National Archive in file... and getting a good colour photocopy would be lovely too (anyone know if this is possible) to add it to my collection (reprint better than noprint).

    Sapper - your Sword Beach map sounds very interesting too - is this in colour , how big is it - is it one of the assault maps with the defence overlay? Is the D+1 map for the same area - if so, what are the differences? Or perhaps D+1 is for the area further inland ? Would be very interested to know.


    Tim
     
  8. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Quite large without going to measure them. Lots of info, but badly torn with bits missing.The originals are in a museum somewhere .Put there by the owner.

    D'Day shows the coastal area, Not as far as Caen, the Day 2 shows the area round Caen and the Collombells industrial estate.

    They are very tatty. But I keep hold of them. My old friend, the late Captain Edwards RE He had a stroke, so I got some copied and sent them on to him.

    It seemed he spent some time looking at them.
     
  9. Packhow75

    Packhow75 Senior Member

    Quite large without going to measure them. Lots of info, but badly torn with bits missing.The originals are in a museum somewhere .Put there by the owner.

    D'Day shows the coastal area, Not as far as Caen, the Day 2 shows the area round Caen and the Collombells industrial estate.

    They are very tatty. But I keep hold of them. My old friend, the late Captain Edwards RE He had a stroke, so I got some copied and sent them on to him.

    It seemed he spent some time looking at them.

    Sapper

    I find these types of map absolutely fascinating... especially to have when touring the battlefield... and far more useful than anything most history books have in them. Also, conveniently they are 1:25,000 scale, the same as the modern maps, so easy to overlay one on the other.

    However whilst they are useful today to identify approximately where things might have been, it's not clear to me is if they were actually all that good... were they a record of what was actually there on the day, or were they only any good for topographical purposes? Do you have a direct experience of working with these maps at the time? Were they sufficiently accurate to be of great use, or just better than nothing?

    I've found the download cable for my camera and attached a photo of the Oslo map - it sounds like it covers some of the area of your maps without the intelligence data.

    Cheers

    Tim
     

    Attached Files:

  10. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    The 1/25,000 map of of the Normandy Area, which had been compiled entirely from air photos, was primarily for use as an artillery map, and its accuracy and suitability for this purpose was fully confirmed. What was unexpected, however, was the popularity of this map, under certain conditions, with the infantry, especially in the bocage district of Normandy, where fields were small and the fighting was often from hedge to hedge.

    The book Historical Maps of World War II has a photo of '101 Beach Sub Area 1st Key Plan BMA MOON' from CAB 44/247. This is the 'real' map' with the SWORD BMA overlay and the legend (33 is a 'Burial Area', for example). There's no date shown but it is almost certainly a planning/briefing map.

    Have you looked at the British Library's catalogue? They hold the record sets of GSGS maps.
     
  11. Packhow75

    Packhow75 Senior Member

    Idler

    Not seen the book... or the Library Catalogue... will take a crack at both over the weekend.

    I do have a set of the repro maps produced by the MOD for the 60th anniversary of Overlord... though without finding them, have no recollection of the areas they cover, or the detail.

    Cheers

    Tim
     
  12. ramacal

    ramacal 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    I'd like to spend some time looking at the maps stored at Kew listed under WO205. 88 files which seems to cover the NW Europe campaign.

    Detecting your browser settings

    Click link to see what's listed.
     
  13. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I'd like to spend some time looking at the maps stored at Kew listed under WO205. 88 files which seems to cover the NW Europe campaign.

    Detecting your browser settings

    Click link to see what's listed.

    Is there any BEF ones listed mate?
     
  14. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Superb map intelligence with the defence layouts forwarded to the British intelligence by the various resistance reseaux,no mean feat for special permission and permits were required to enter or live in the 30 km coastal strips.Not forgetting those British units who surveyed the landing beaches under the cover of darkness,well before D Day.

    As regards navigation in enemy territory,the principle was to make it as hard as possible for enemy units to navigate either in battle or as an occupier.To this end in the British Isles as a precaution in the event of a German invasion,all signposts were removed.

    The Germans in France were entirely different and retained signposts which made it easier for the Germans to navigate and administer the country but also helped the Allies when they landed.Additionally the German occupiers had a comprehensive system of military directions by unit sigposts which must have given the Allies some further aid on intelligence of the enemy.

    Apparently,the 1939 Michelin Guide was also issued by the Allies for the invasion.It was also said that the Germans used the same edition in their blitzkrieg operation into France.

    Perhaps Brian (Sapper) can confirm some of these points.
     
  15. ramacal

    ramacal 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    Is there any BEF ones listed mate?

    Will have a scout around later.
     
  16. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Hi Harry.
    Here mate I must be honest. For except for a privileged few ... None of us ever saw a map, let alone be able to look at them in depth. Very seldom did we know where we were going that day. Very seldom did we know that some would not return to harbour....

    Only once did we get a briefing "Goodwood Operations" That was given in a field to the accompany of several thousand bombers pounding the forward area. And to the sound of approaching tanks...One Sherman One Panther followed by another Sherman. They had captured tank and crew intact, and brought it back in triumph.

    I hated Goodwood.....

    So As I said...Only once were we briefed in depth, and it seemed to me that was done in a distasteful manner. I never quite found out why it had to be so bloody secretive that those taking part were not told.
    Sapper
     
  17. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Harry, Two points proved here ref sign posts:

    [​IMG]
    From Ruckmarsch Then and Now
     
  18. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Hi Harry.
    Here mate I must be honest. For except for a privileged few ... None of us ever saw a map, let alone be able to look at them in depth. Very seldom did we know where we were going that day. Very seldom did we know that some would not return to harbour....

    Only once did we get a briefing "Goodwood Operations" That was given in a field to the accompany of several thousand bombers pounding the forward area. And to the sound of approaching tanks...One Sherman One Panther followed by another Sherman. They had captured tank and crew intact, and brought it back in triumph.

    I hated Goodwood.....

    So As I said...Only once were we briefed in depth, and it seemed to me that was done in a distasteful manner. I never quite found out why it had to be so bloody secretive that those taking part were not told.
    Sapper

    Brian,Information given out on 'a need to know' basis.I can tell you it was a relevation to me when I learnt many years later that the piston engined squadron I was on was destined to deliver the atomic bomb to the heartland of Russia if war broke out.A one way ticket it was to be with the comment "don't expect to come back,all you can expect is to get shacked up with a Russian piece of stuff".

    Drew,the excellent standard of signposting in France during the occupation was the reason why Allied personnel on the run, could navigate down to the Pyrenees using basic agricultural dealers maps.
     
  19. Earthican

    Earthican Senior Member

    I recall photos of Normandie with the town name painted on the side of a building. IIRC the photo captions stated the Germans ordered these to prevent road signs from being removed or altered by the resistance. I was never sure if this was conjecture or a researched conclusion.
     
  20. Kieron Hill

    Kieron Hill Senior Member

    Ramacal excellant link to the maps of NW Europe
    held at the National Archives, that is a must for
    me to take a look before my visit to France in July.

    Cheers
    Kieron
     

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