Jaspar Maskelyne was a British magician and a showman. He was also an inventor who invented the coin operated toilet door. When WWII broke out he offered his services to the military but was relegated to entertaining the troops. Finally a British general realized that there was much more he could do. Maskelyne was allowed to put together a team that went on to trick the Germans. They built fake submarines and Spitfires. They disguised tanks and trucks and successfully ‘hid’ the Suez Canal with a system of revolving mirrors and searchlights. He also helped win the battle of El Alamein by building fake fake tanks and a water pipeline to convince Rommel that an attack was coming from the south instead of the north. When a British double agent named Eddie Chapman (who was a small time crook in Britain before the war and captured by the Germans while in a British prison on an island in the English Channel) in Britain was supposed to blow-up a factory he was employed to create an illusion that the factory was destroyed after an explosion was created. The ruse worked and the double agent was congratulated by the Germans for work ‘well done’. The double agent was then able to continue to feed the Germans with false information supplied by the British Secret Service MI5.

(Book – Agent Zigzag – Ben MacIntyre)

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