LONDON -- When British military leaders set up a special task force in 1969 to study how best to use deception to achieve their battlefield aims, they turned their attention to the tactics used by the Israelis -- not the Americans.Quote has been trimmed
Formerly classified documents released Friday by the National Archives show that many officers felt the Americans didn't have a knack for deceiving the enemy. Americans were judged to be so open and friendly that they lacked cunning.
The so-called Defense Deception Advisory Group studied in detail the way Israel's military and political leaders used a complex series of intertwined deceptions to fool their Arab enemies about the Jewish state's intentions and its military capabilities.
The British found, for example, that the Israelis confused their adversaries by setting up fake soldiers -- actual mannequins in battle dress were used -- near one border crossing to make their enemies think an attack was coming, forcing them to deploy troops to defend the area.
"The British are impressed to see how those techniques could be used in a modern era," said Mark Dunton, contemporary history specialist at the National Archives. "Their anxiety is that unless Britain kept its thinking fresh on this, they would...