Operation Compass (ii)

This was a British radio deception operation in Italy designed to suggest to the Germans that the British XIV Corps, a fictional formation, was being withdrawn into army group reserve (March/April 1945).

The XIV Corps was one of several larger formations 'created' by the British for deception purposes. The corps came into being during December 1943 as a 'Cascade' element for 'Oakfield', the deception plan which supported the 'Shingle' landing at Anzio in the west coast of Italy. 'Arriving' in North Africa during December 1943, the formation comprised the fictional 40th, 42nd and 57th Divisions. Supposedly to be used for landings in the area of Pisa and Livorno within 'Oakfield' in the winter of 1943/44, the formation was placed under the US 7th Army for 'Zeppelin' early in 1944. The notional British 5th Airborne Division was later added to the corps' establishment, and the 40th Division and 5th Airborne Division were notionally in Sicily by April 1944, and the western Mediterranean in the following month. In the winter of 1944/45 the XIV Corps was portrayed as a reserve corps located in the area of Terni area with the 42nd and 57th Divisions, trained in mountain warfare for service as and when the Allied forces in Italy reached the Alps. Notionally placed under command of the 15th Army Group in the spring of 1945, the corps was simulated as being in army group reserve during April 1945 in support of the Allies' spring offensives.