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Airborne Equipment: The Rupert

Posted by WETSU Airborne Community

As part of the massive deception campaign waged by the Allies during the lead up to D-Day, Operation Titanic saw the use of this funny little fellow. The main force of Operation Titanic dropped some 400 dummy paratroopers, nicknamed "Ruperts", in four drop zones around Normandy. The manikins had pyrotechnic noisemakers that would make popping sounds akin to gunfire, as well as a small explosive charge that would conceal the ruse by destroying the dummy. The timed explosive could also potentially kill Germans who went to investigate.

The dummy drops would also conceal the two SAS teams that were inserted ahead of the main force near Saint-Lô. These commandos would go on to broadcast sounds of men shouting and weapon fire in an effort to convince the Germans that paratroopers had landed elsewhere. These troopers would go on the run for six weeks behind enemy lines until they were finally captured after a standoff in a barn. Most of them were wounded in the encounter but were taken to a military hospital in the north of France where they were then liberated a month later.