Author POV – A Coverup in Exercise Tiger?
For decades debate, argument and allegations of an official military cover-up have revolved around the most infamous and disastrous D-Day rehearsal for American troops in World War II – Exercise Tiger, held at the end of April 1944. Richard T. Bass explores the controversy in a new book from Tommies Guides. In this Author POV for ArmchairGeneral.com, he summarizes some of his data and asks readers to give their opinions.
The focal point of dispute is the number of casualties sustained. Officially, 749 were killed and missing in action. This figure is based upon a hasty assessment made only hours after a seaborne convoy was attacked in the English Channel by German E-Boats, and it is a number that even today U.S. military sources rigidly maintain is correct.
But there is evidence to the contrary that not only is the death toll much higher, but documents have been altered or rewritten to maintain that official figure. This includes the records of burials for casualties that simply doesn’t equate with testimony from witnesses who carried bodies from an English seaport to the cemetery. It isn’t just slipshod or careless record keeping: examination of service numbers and names reveal that some service numbers weren’t even issued. Names don’t match numbers. Some listed as not being buried in England are later shown to have been buried in the United States, some with dates of death on D-Day, June 6, 1944. British witnesses recall seeing bodies of American servicemen on railroad freight cars in August 1944 close to the exercise area, some two years before any deceased soldiers were repatriated to the United States.
Another contentious issue is the number of Allied ships sunk that night. Official reports state that two Tank Landing Ships were torpedoed and sunk, but this is contested by the German E-Boat operational logs which claim three large ships, one smaller craft and a destroyer, claims corroborated by individual craft of the attacking formations.
The mystery of why the Americans’ convoy’s lone escort ship failed initially to react positively to the attack may be answered in the U.S. Navy’s own Operation Order. Here the threat of just such an attack is over-emphasized, leading to the conclusion that it was expected. Planners of Exercise Tiger were aware of an identical situation scheduled for a later D-Day rehearsal when an Allied shipping convoy would be attacked by “enemy” small craft to test their reaction and defence efficiency, utilizing high speed gunboats of the Free French Navy based close to the exercise area.
The head of British national security had secret meetings with high level Navy planners of Exercise Tiger, and at that time he was tasked with ensuring that German agents under British control in England were believed by their masters in Nazi Germany. This was essential as they would feed false reports prior to D-Day as part of the great deception plan, and their intelligence had to appear trustworthy and truthful. It was a short step to pass true information about Exercise Tiger to convince Germany their future transmissions would also be truthful.
My questions: Was the cover-up that followed to distort the true loss of life? Was the man in charge of Exercise Tiger, Rear Admiral Don P. Moon, aware of the cover-up and about to tell the truth? He died August 5, 1944, in what was termed a suicide due to battle fatigue.
Post a comment below to offer your answers to these questions. After two weeks, we’ll post the author’s own POV on the answers.