Operation Husband

This was a US continuation of the ‘Wedlock’ deception plan to persuade the Japanese that the next US invasion after 'Forager' against the Marianas islands group would be launched from the Aleutian islands group and therefore probably fall on Hokkaido island and/or the northern part of Honshu island (28 August/31 October 1944).

The end of 'Wedlock' merged smoothly into 'Husband', which was a new deception undertaking designed to cover the next move by the amphibious forces of Admiral Chester W. Nimitz’s Pacific Ocean Areas. Following 'Forager' to take the Mariana islands group, was 'Stalemate II' to take key elements of the Palau islands group, starting on 15 September. On 9 June Nimitz submitted to Washington a proposal for a deception to aid 'Stalemate II'. This should be focused, Nimitz said, on the timing of his next move rather than on its direction, for the latter would be obvious to the Japanese. He therefore proposed the creation and implementation of a deception 'story' to the effect that shortages of shipping and the great logistical strain which were currently being imposed on central Pacific bases by the preparations for 'Forager', entailed a six-month delay before the further advance of the central Pacific forces could be resumed, and that the next US move would therefore be made against the Kurile islands group during the favourable weather probable in that region during September. The Joint Chiefs-of-Staff approved Nimitz’s proposal on 25 June even as 'Forager' was proceeding.

The Joint Security Control organisation called a planning conference of signal officers, and this took place at Pearl Harbor on 10 July with representatives from the staffs of Major General Delos C. Emmons, who had succeeded Lieutenant General Simon B. Buckner in June as commander of the Alaskan Department, Nimitz, General Douglas MacArthur and two men of the Joint Security Control. This conference worked out a plan to suggest a new US threat against the Kurile islands group, just to the north of the Japanese home islands, with a probable target date between 5 and 10 September.

The pattern of radio signals was to indicate a level of activity high enough to imply a threat, but with no effort to depict actual embarkation of troops. Nimitz was to be in overall control, as it had been for 'Wedlock', and MacArthur’s command was to be kept informed and was to 'continue to maintain the appearance of normal operational and administrative communications to indicate a period of relative quiescence'.

After the usual staff reviews, the 'Husband' plan with minor revisions was approved by the Joint Chiefs-of-Staff on 28 August.

Like 'Wedlock', 'Husband' was to be implemented primarily by deceptive radio traffic. The departure of the 'Wedlock' supporting task force from the North Pacific Area to return to the Central Pacific Area was simulated on July 17, and the movement of the fictitious 141st Division, with three infantry regiments and four field artillery battalions, from Kodiak island to Umnak island in the Aleutian islands group was suggested early in August. US Army signals traffic showed a gradual rise in volume between Washington and Alaska, while US Navy signals traffic indicated continuing activity by the fictitious 9th Fleet and its IX Amphibious Corps, with an increase in the movement of surface units from the Hawaiian islands group to the North Pacific Area. The pace of the deception was hastened as the September target date approached, and on 11 September radio traffic began the simulation of a fast carrier striking force leaving Pearl Harbor for Alaskan waters, fuelling and rendezvousing with North Pacific Area forces, and then remaining in the region as a threat to the area between the Kurile and Bonin island groups.

Thereafter the tempo slowed, though the level of traffic was maintained at a level high enough to maintain an impression of considerable US strength in the North Pacific Area.

Dummy construction continued on Attu island throughout June and July. 'Filbert' installations, with 'Acorn' and 'Cub' dummy shore constructions, were erected within an effort which included an airstrip, anti-aircraft positions, dumps, a tank farm and supply depots; and 50 'Bigbob' dummy LCT tank landing craft diverted by the Joint Security Control organisation from the European theatre were placed visibly in the harbour of Attu island. No more attempts at visual deceptions were made, on the orders of Emmons, almost certainly in reflection of the fact that the Japanese possessed absolutely no Japanese air reconnaissance capability in the northern Pacific. The Attu installation was the only complete 'Filbert' erected in the course of the war. The 'Bigbob' dummies created some embarrassment when eight were lost in storms during July and one was even blown some 300 ft (90 m) onto dry land.

Only a handful of 'special means' items (double agents, leaked 'information' and the like) were used to support of 'Husband'. One of the Joint Security Control’s personnel suggested a series of such items involving an agent meeting a soldier on emergency leave from the fictitious 119th Division on Amchitka island, who would mention a big operation coming up, and meeting the father of an officer in the equally fictitious 157th Division who was taking Japanese language training, but no more seems to have come of these than that in September an agent codenamed 'Rudloff' sent a report from a fictitious 'Wasch' agent in the Pentagon about a newspaper story on increased language instruction for civil affairs officers. He sent also a report that a submarine was overdue in the North Pacific.

Early in November, as part of the termination of 'Husband' on 31 October, an item was released through South American channels to the effect that swiftly pace of events in the Central and South-West Pacific Ocean Areas had delayed plans for action in the North Pacific Ocean Area.

Secondary deceptions in the Aleutian islands group, such as 'Bambino' followed by 'Valentine', also continued.