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series: Ghost Army
air date: 6/26/13 4:00 AM
This program tells the true story of American G.I.s -- many of whom would go on to have illustrious careers in art, design and fashion -- who tricked the enemy with rubber tanks, sound effects and visual illusions during the World War II. The 23rd Headquarters Special Troops staged a traveling road show of deception designed to con the Germans right on the front lines. From Normandy to the Rhine, they conjured up phony convoys, phantom divisions and make-believe headquarters to fool the enemy about the strength and location of American units. Every move they made was top secret and their story was hushed up for decades after the war's end. Many of the men chosen to carry out these deceptions were young artists recruited from art schools across the country. In their spare time, they painted and sketched their way across Europe, creating a unique and moving visual record of their war. Some would go on to become famous, including fashion designer Bill Blass, painter Ellsworth Kelley and photographer Art Kane. This documentary features interviews with 19 Ghost Army veterans, as well as retired general Wesley Clark and other military historians.
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