PBS to air “The Ghost Army” in May

Filmmaker Rick Beyer recounts how a group of American G.I.s used inflatable tanks, sound effects and other tricks to creatively deceive the German army in the World War II doc The Ghost Army (pictured).
February 12, 2013

U.S. pubcaster PBS is set to air a World War II documentary about a group of American G.I.s who deceived the German army through a series of tricks and illusions.

Airing this spring, Rick Beyer’s The Ghost Army recounts how, in the summer of 1944, the 1,100 men of the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops landed in France armed with inflatable tanks (pictured above), sound effects records, and other tricks, and created rubber convoys, phantom divisions and phony traffic nets to creatively fool the enemy.

Many of the men were young artists that went on to have successful careers following the war, such as fashion designer Bill Blass, painter Ellsworth Kelley and photographer Art Kane. Beyer, who spent the past eight years working on the project, interviewed 19 members of the once top-secret Ghost Army.

“The niece of a Ghost Army veteran brought me an armload of her uncle’s wartime watercolors and sketches and told me the story. I was hooked,” he said in a statement. “Since then I’ve been determined to bring the amazing story of these creative soldiers to the world.”

The Ghost Army premieres on PBS on Tuesday, May 21 at 8 p.m. EST.

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Jillian Morgan is a staff writer at realscreen with a background in journalism and digital marketing. She joined the publication in 2019 after serving as the assistant editor to trade publications HPAC and On-Site. With a bachelor of journalism from the University of King's College in Halifax, she also works as a freelance writer and fact-checker.