Operation Boardman

This was the Allied deception operation to support the ‘Avalanche’ invasion at Salerno in western Italy by suggesting that an Allied invasion of the Balkans or of Sardinia and Corsica was imminent (July/September 1943).

The object of the undertaking, which was in essence a continuation of ‘Barclay’, was to weaken the German and Italian forces deployed in Italy, especially that country’s central and southern regions, and contain the largest number of German and Italian divisions in other parts of the Mediterranean, especially the southern part of the Balkans, most particularly Greece. The 'story' that was promulgated by ‘Boardman’ was that the Allies were planning to make amphibious descents on Sardinia and Corsica on 5 September, and then on the heel of Italy five days later, and to follow these with landings in either southern France or north-western Italy (the area of Genoa and Livorno), and finally the Peloponnese at the end of September.

The undertaking made use of the ‘Waterfall’ dummy displays, refurbished for the purpose and displayed in the Cyrenaica eastern part of Libya to suggest equipment for an invasion of the Balkans, and James Ponsonby, the commercial attaché of the British consulate in Tangier, whose posed as a traitor prepared to sell secret information to the Germans on the grounds that he was in dire need of money.