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1-11 March

LOCHINVAR (1-11 March) is a hard operation to explain. It was a little like the old shell game with someone knocking over the table halfway in between. On 28 February, the 23rd was called in by its best customer, XX Corps, to help cover the juggling of three divisions on the Saar front. First: the tired 94th on the north was to be relieved by the 26th, the division on its immediate right. Second: the hole left by the 26th was to be filled by the 65th, cosmolene-fresh from the States. This is what was going to happen but the 23rd was supposed to deceive the enemy into believing that the 94th and 26th were merely exchanging sectors. The freshman 65th was to be hid under the veteran mantle of the 94th. The 65th infantrymen were to wear 94th shoulder patches; the 65th vehicles were to be marked 94-X; spoof radios, which had infiltrated into the 94th nets were to move down and play in the 65th area. Meanwhile, the real 94th was to go into Corps reserve and get a good rest.

What actually happened was something else again. When the operation was only partially complete, the Germans took advantage of the unstable situation and attacked. This threw LOCHINVAR into a small tailspin. The vulnerable 94th, half in and half out of the line, returned to its original position. Two 23rd spoof radios were damaged by shellfire and two others were cut off by the enemy for about 48 hours. The 65th continued to relieve the 26th, not, however, wearing the 94th’s identity but under a security blackout. The visual evidences of the other two divisions were also obliterated.

The 23rd furnished only radios and advice in this operation. No dummies, sonic or special effects were employed. No division was simulated. The effects of this double-dealing ruse were never revealed but if the enemy was half as confused as we were, LOCHINVAR was a glorious success.

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