Operation False Armistice Project

The 'False Armistice Project' was a British unrealised deception intended to cause large numbers of disaffected Italian soldiers to surrender at the start of 'Husky' (i) (June/July 1943).

Suggested to the British by the Italian collapse in 1917 during the Battle of Caporetto, after a rumour had swept through the Italian forces that an armistice had been signed, the project of 1943 was posited by Brigadier Dudley W. Clarke’s 'A' Force deception apparatus on the dropping of large numbers of a leaflet in Italian, bearing the royal arms and a facsimile of King Vittorio Emanuele III’s signa­ture. The leaflet was to purport that it was a proclamation by the king ordering his Italian troops to lay down their arms as Germany had abandoned Italy.

British forgers produced a document which was deemed to be all but perfect, and bearing a facsimile of the king’s signature culled from a history of Italy in World War I. The leaflets were delivered by air to Algiers six days before the start of 'Husky' (i), but the project was cancelled at the last minute as it was deemed too sensitive at the political level.