Made up of 379 men, including many artists, the 603rd Camouflage Battalion was the largest Ghost Army unit. Assigned to carry out visual deceptions, the 603rd used inflatable tanks, trucks, and artillery to falsely communicate the physical presence of Allied troops for detection by enemy aerial reconnaissance.
603rd Camouflage Engineering Battalion video (Universal Newsreel, 1946)
"My-I just saw something I didn't believe. Somebody carried a jeep across the road. So we were told, under no circumstances could you, should you ever move inflated stuff anywhere."
-Cpl. Jack Masey, 603rd Camouflage Engineer (Ghost Army Interview, 18 July 2006)
603rd Camouflage Engineering Battalion (Photo: Courtesy of Jack Masey/Ghost Army Legacy Project, 1944)
American factory workers thought the inflatable tanks would be used as target practice. (Photo: National Archives, c. 1945)
(Knoxville News-Sentinel, 06 Jan. 1946)
Dummy vehicles and fake tracks near the Rhine River in 1945. (Photo: National Archives, 1945)
(Dayton Herald, 21 Feb. 1946)
"Officers who had once commanded 32-ton tanks felt frustrated and helpless with a battalion of rubber M-4s, 93 pounds fully inflated. The adjustment from man of action to man of wile was most difficult. Few realized at first that one could spend just as much energy pretending to fight as actually fighting."
-Lt. Fred Fox, Ghost Army Officer ("Official History of the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops," Sept. 1945)