Is Operation Mincemeat Based on a True Story? Is the Movie Based on Real Life

Directed by John Madden, ‘Operation Mincemeat’ is a gripping conflict drama film. Set amidst World War II, it follows the Allies as they attempt to undo Hitler’s occupation of Europe. To idiot the invading German troops from the Allied Invasion of Sicily, two British intelligence officers devise and execute a sensible ploy to disguise a corpse as a naval officer and strategically plant it to be found by the enemies. However, they have to tread fastidiously to outwit the Germans and execute their plan earlier than time runs out.

The elaborate narrative and characters are dropped at life by the compelling solid performances led by Colin Firth and Matthew MacFadyen. Moreover, the practical backdrop makes the viewers marvel if the movie is predicated on an precise occasion in historical past. So, should you too are curious to search out out, you’ve discovered an ally in us. Let’s dive in!

Is Operation Mincemeat Based on a True Story?

Yes, ‘Operation Mincemeat’ is predicated on a true story. It is tailored from Ben Macintyre’s eponymous guide about the actual Operation Mincemeat, a sensible 1943 deception operation deliberate and executed by British intelligence. It was conceptualized to divert the German troops’ consideration from Operation Husky, by which the Allied powers deliberate to invade and take the island territory of Sicily away from the Axis powers.

Is Operation Mincemeat Based on a True Story? Is the Movie Based on Real Life
Image Credit: Giles Keyte/See-Saw Films

The inspiration for Operation Mincemeat got here from the 1939 Trout Memo issued by British naval intelligence director Rear Admiral John Godfrey. The doc outlined quite a few schemes and recommendations on find out how to lure the German submarines and ships into hazard zones to defeat them. On this checklist, the twenty eighth level steered deceptive papers being planted on a corpse to be found by the enemies.

However, Macintyre steered in his guide that the memo seemed extra to be the work of Godfrey’s private assistant Lieutenant Commander Ian Fleming, who later went on the write the James Bond collection of spy novels. Following an plane crash off the coast of Cádiz, Spain, in September 1942, the British intelligence deduced that regardless of being impartial, the Spanish have been passing on obtained info to the German intelligence group Abwehr.

Thus, Charles Cholmondeley, the secretary of the double agent intelligence staff Twenty Committee, devised his personal model of the above-mentioned suggestion in the Trout Memo. As per Cholmondeley’s plan, the lungs of a useless physique obtained from London hospitals can be stuffed with water, and essential paperwork can be planted in the inside pocket of the clothes. This would be sure that when the physique was found by enemies, they might consider the particular person’s plane was shot down.

Since the Twenty Committee was skeptical of Cholmondeley’s plan, chairman John Masterman assigned naval consultant Ewen Montagu to work with him on growing it. The latter was working at the Naval Intelligence Division beneath Godfrey at the moment and had been briefed about the relevance of the deception operation.

Montagu and Cholmondeley labored with MI6 consultant Major Frank Foley to refine their technique. With the assist of a pathologist, they concluded that the lungs of the corpse didn’t have to be stuffed with water, as the Spanish have been averse to post-mortems. On January 28, 1943, coroner Bentley Purchase from the Northern District of London contacted Montagu and offered him with the corpse of Glyndwr Michael, a Welsh homeless man residing in London, who had died after ingesting rat poison.

Is Operation Mincemeat Based on a True Story? Is the Movie Based on Real Life

Michael was given the fictitious identification of Captain (Acting Major) William Martin of the Royal Marines, assigned to the Combined Operations Headquarters. However, it was not till the Nineties that his actual identification was revealed to the public. The identify William Martin and the assigned rank have been widespread throughout these days in the Royal Marines and thus, have been chosen to make the corpse’s identification generic and never simply verifiable. Moreover, his rank made him eligible to hold delicate paperwork however not be a identified face.

In addition, paperwork similar to the {photograph} of a fictitious fiancée named Pam, letters from her and Martin’s father, an engagement ring receipt, and different such papers written with ink that might final lengthy in seawater, have been planted in the corpse’s pockets. Not simply that, a lodgings invoice, theatre ticket stubs, a guide of stamps, cigarettes, and keys, amongst different issues, have been added to ascertain Martin’s presence in London in the days previous his loss of life.

MI5 member Captain Ronnie Reed was photographed for the identification card, as he bore the closest resemblance to Michael’s face. Montagu and Cholmondeley then spent the subsequent few days sporting the uniform and the identification card to provide them a used look. For the foremost top-secret doc, Lieutenant General Sir Archibald Nye, the vice chief of the Imperial General Staff, helped by offering a letter in his handwriting, as devised by Montagu.

Addressed to General Sir Harold Alexander, commander of the 18th Army Group in North Africa, the letter clearly said that Sicily was a secret cover-up of the plans to invade the Balkans and dismissed it as the foremost goal of the operation. An introduction letter for Martin from Vice-Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten was additionally enclosed in the paperwork, and a single black eyelash was positioned in the letter to later guarantee whether or not the Germans or Spanish had opened it. The paperwork have been additional put in a briefcase, and it was hooked up by a leather-covered chain looped round the corpse’s trench coat.

Taking into consideration the tides and currents in addition to the presence of German intelligence agent Adolf Clauss in Huelva, Spain, it was chosen as the location the place the physique can be positioned. Furthermore, it was determined that a submarine can be used as the mode of transportation for sensible causes. The plan finally acquired permitted by each Prime Minister Winston Churchill in addition to Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower. On April 17, 1943, the corpse was ready and transported to Greenock, Scotland, and brought aboard in a preservation container in the submarine HMS Seraph.

Is Operation Mincemeat Based on a True Story? Is the Movie Based on Real Life

Finally, in the early hours of April 30, 1943, the corpse was launched into the water, off the coast of Huelva. The preservation container was destroyed later at a distance, whereas the physique of “Major Martin” was found by a native fisherman later that morning. The Spanish troopers carried the corpse to the naval decide in Huelva, and British vice-consul Francis Haselden was knowledgeable as properly. He was secretly a a part of Operation Mincemeat, and therefore he ensured that the corpse was buried with full honors, with out an post-mortem.

Haselden additionally despatched out some pre-scripted telegrams to his superiors, which the British knew have been being intercepted by the Germans. As quickly as the information of the paperwork discovered with the corpse reached the Abwehr brokers, head Admiral Wilhelm Canaris pressured the Spanish to give up the briefcase, and the info fastidiously taken from the letters was relayed to the Germans. On May 11, 1943, when the briefcase was returned to London by way of Haselden, forensic examinations and the lacking eyelash proved that the Germans had tampered with the paperwork.

Three days later, on May 14, 1943, a German communication was decrypted by the Ultra – a sign intelligence unit – which indicated a warning of the Balkans being invaded. Hence, Hitler acquired satisfied that Sardinia and the Peloponnesus have been the foremost focal point for the British, and he and Mussolini employed a majority of their troops to safe Greece, Sardinia, and Corsica.

On July 9, 1943, the Allies invaded Sicily beneath Operation Husky, and as a consequence of a lack of German reinforcements, they have been victorious. Given its enormous success, Operation Mincemeat is taken into account to be one in every of the smartest conflict methods in World War II historical past. Several books and performs on the identical have been created.

In a May 2022 interview, director John Madden shared that the story was not a lot heard of whereas he grew up in England. But Ben Macintyre’s guide and a number of other declassified MI5 information introduced the story into the limelight. “It’s a type of tales [where] you type of assume, ‘Really?!’ as you’re going into it,” he stated. Madden continued, “The strangeness and the oddity of it and the kind of playfulness of it’s an odd level of entry to a World War II film… and extra fascinating, after all, as a result of it’s true.”

However, some parts of the film have been barely exaggerated for leisure. Thus, we are able to say that ‘Operation Mincemeat’ is generally an genuine portrayal of an unimaginable true occasion and honors the efforts of these concerned in the precise operation.

Read More: Where Was Operation Mincemeat Filmed?

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